1 November 2022, London Marriott Hotel County Hall
21 November 2022, Hilton London Metropole
12 December 2022, etc.venues Monument, London
Business class airline, Silverjet has urged the UK government in the strongest terms to back the draft aviation agreement between the European Union (EU) and the US as it seeks to expand its network.
The deal is up for discussion at next week”s meeting of European Commission transport ministers and the Luton-based carrier is convinced that any open skies deal would benefit both it and the UK economy.
Currently constrained by bilateral deals between individual countries, Silverjet maintains it could operate services from key European business cities such as Frankfurt, Rome, Berlin and Paris to the US, as well as cater for the large amount of potential business traffic in Monaco. Currently, passengers from the Principality must connect, usually via Paris, for onward US services.
”There are a significant number of people in Monaco who travel to New York and there are no direct flights from Nice,” Silverjet CEO, Lawrence Hunt
(pictured), told ABTN, adding: ”We have identified around 28 cities in Europe from where New York is not directly served.”
Despite Hunt”s enthusiasm for a multi-lateral approach to open skies, he remains realistic that the US might reject the deal, as jitters concerning foreign ownership of American carriers affect domestic politics.
The Silverjet CEO also remains sceptical that sufficient British political will is visible at the top level, although he has detected genuine grass roots enthusiasm following his recent appearance before the transport select committee. ”I am encouraged by noises from the committee,” he said, ”but [Secretary of State for Transport] Douglas Alexander has wavered in the wind with this and he will be casting the UK vote I believe.”
And Hunt also dismissed British Airways” (BA) view that any open skies deal should reflect the value of Heathrow more in its evaluation. ”Obviously BA is vehemently opposed to any competition and is behaving monopolistically ” frankly it should be fined,” he said.