Commenting on the decision by the European Commission to block the proposed merger between Ryanair and Aer Lingus, West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion, Lib Dem Transport Spokesman in the European Parliament, said:
"This is the right decision and good news for passengers who otherwise would face a Ryanair monopoly on 46 routes, including many between Ireland and the Midlands.
"Where only one airline covers a route, significant fare rises are inevitable. It is therefore very important that the EU promotes a competitive market, not comfortable monopolies.
"In my work in the European Parliament's Transport Committee, I am pushing for a fair and open aviation market. I welcome this ruling which shows the EU is taking seriously it's obligation to promote healthy competition, driving down costs for passengers.
"Many people in the Irish diaspora in the West Midlands and further afield retain close family links with relatives. Their travel to and from Ireland is not just general tourism, so the need to protect their interests by enforcing fair competition is particularly acute.
"The EU also plays an important role in upholding the right of passengers to fair treatment and compensation. The European Court of Justice has just ruled that passengers on connecting flights should be compensated if they are delayed by over three hours.
"Liberal Democrat MEPs are also working on how we can further strengthen passenger rights, looking at issues such as hidden costs when booking flights and excessive restrictions imposed by some airlines for carry-on cabin baggage."