Air Transport World

ATW's 21st annual gala.(Air Transport World)

The evils of state aid and the benefits of competition were the topics foremost on the minds of recipients of Air Transport World's 21st annual awards at the gala dinner in Washington.

Austin Reid, managing director of British Midland Airways, set the tone early in the evening when, accepting his airline's Market Development Award, he lashed out at carriers holding back progress toward liberalization in Europe.

"The flight path to open skies in Europe has had its moments of turbulence. As you are well aware, being given the chance to fly routes in a deregulated market does not guarantee success ... coming face to face on the busiest routes in Europe with some of the biggest state-owned airlines, routes that had been the subject of cozy cartels for decades. The last decade or so has seen notable changes in the traditional way in which governments have run their airlines, changes that have rejected years of massive losses, and demanded that airlines be run as commercial businesses. …

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