PART 5 VIEWS OF WITNESSES
101. The relationship between national
carriers and national governments was raised by several witnesses.
Commissioner van Miert thought that there was still a "very
strong relationship" between the previously nationally-owned
carriers and governments. While these airlines probably felt that
(traditionally) they had been better protected by national (rather
than Community) authorities, they now "had to face up to
that not being so" (Q 294). British Airways stated that whilst
there was no "identity of interest between British Airways
and the British Government" it was acknowledged that the
Government had a greater interest in their company than in others
because "British Airways often requires Ministerial approval
or Ministerial backing to engage in a particular enterprise [as]
it needs a bilateral agreement" (QQ 244, 249).
102. British Midland's view was that
"every national government bats hard for its own national
carrier" (Q 4) while Virgin Atlantic thought that the role
of governments in the airline industry should be limited to ensuring
that there was fair and equal competition. It was vitally important
that there was "an effective competition policy diligently
applied" if dominant airlines were to be prevented from abusing
their market power (QQ 188, 206-7). Delta stated that United States'
carriers did have certain obligations to hand over airplanes to
the United States military in the event of a conflict (Q 67).