Calls for guarantees over Scots air links with London

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Speaking during a debate on the Civil Aviation Bill at Westminster on Monday, SNP MP Pete Wishart called for the UK Government to seek guarantees over the future of Scottish air links following the acquisition of British Midland (BMI) by International Airlines Group (IAG) which owns British Airways.

The SNP MP highlighted research which shows BA’s record between Scotland and Heathrow lags behind a more punctual BMI – raising further concerns that the quality of service for Scottish passengers would deteriorate as well as the number of services following the takeover.

On flights between London Heathrow and the three main Scottish airports, BA consistently shows a greater average delay in flights than BMI.  On flights between Glasgow and Heathrow, BA has an average delay of 13.5 minutes, as against an average for 9.7 minutes on BMI flights.  Similar figures were reported on flights between Edinburgh and Heathrow.  

Mr Wishart said:

“Research shows that BA’s record lags behind a more punctual BMI which will reinforce fears, with this takeover, that passengers could be left with a poorer quality service as well as a reduced number of flight options.

“The UK Government must seek guarantees over the future of Scottish air links following this take over by BA of its primary domestic rival.

“There is a real worry that BA will give its international slots at Heathrow priority over domestic services – and Scottish passengers must not be left with a second class service.

“We have already seen the loss of valuable air links between Scotland and Heathrow, and if BA takes over its only rival, then remaining slots will clearly be at risk. We must have real guarantees that further domestic slots will not be withdrawn.”