Air Transport World

Will post-'92 Europe be 'fortress' or free?

The two fundamental issues that will have the greatest impact on commercial aviation's development in the next two decades are European liberalization and multilateralism, according to Lim Chin Beng, deputy chairman of Singapore Airlines. Speaking at the Financial Times pre-Farnborough conference in London, he expressed concern as to how a united Europe will treat outsiders after 1992. Asian airlines are asking what sort of operating environment external carriers will face and whether they will gain more or have less access. In short, will it be a "fortress" or a "free" Europe?

Lim said that of greatest interest to Asian nations is how the European Community (EC) is going to negotiate traffic rights as a single entity. Although European Commission officials in Brussels have been trying to reassure third countries by pledging that "fair and equal opportunity" will prevail in all negotiations until they can spell out clearly just what that will mean in practice, Asian nations "will be concerned and not a little apprehensive," Lim declared. …

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