Sir - In your editorial "Associate membership" (Flight International, 20-26 September), "bizarre anomalies just around the corner" is a good description of what is being allowed to happen to civil aviation within the European Union.

This particular club (non-affiliated) must be the only such to charge high subscription rates and yet allow non-members free access. If the Swiss get a foothold, then that must be at the cost of the British Midland route. The Commission must insist on it and British Midland must be supported.

When the first discussions began in Brussels on the harmonisation of civil aviation, the tenet was that whoever came up with the cheapest fare and could sustain a legal operation should get the route they requested. We are as far away from that goal now as we were then. Airfares are still geared to the most inefficient making a profit out of the fare-paying passenger - not much of a free-market image, I think.

The whole situation is an expensive sham and, if the Commissioners can do nothing, we must look long and hard at where we are going. With the European Joint Airworthiness Authorities doing its best to export jobs, and foreign airlines robbing European carriers of routes, perhaps we should be saying to Transport Commissioner Neil Kinnock: "We want our cake and intend to eat it, too."


General Secretary

Association of Licensed Aircraft Engineers

Ascot, Berkshire, UK

Sir - Your editorial "Associate membership" was well written and I agree fully with the comments made.

There is, however, a factual error. Switzerland did not vote against joining the European Union (EU). Many people are mistaken about this and, in fact, there has never been a referendum on the issue. The Swiss Government has never withdrawn its application for membership - it appears to be in abeyance while bilateral discussions continue.

What the Swiss voted not to join was the European Economic Area. Before that, of course, Switzerland voted not to join the United Nations. There will eventually be a referendum on the EU, but no date has been fixed.


IATA Consultancy Services

Geneva, Switzerland

Will Swiss foothold be at British Midland's cost?




Source: Flight International