§ 14. Mr. GILBERT
asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his Department pay or allow any subsidies to any commercial aviation companies; if so, will he state to how many of such companies they are paid, what the amounts are, and if any and what conditions are imposed as a condition of payment; if any time limit is imposed; and, if so, for how long?
As the answer is rather long, I will, with my hon. Friend's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The answer to the first two parts of the question is as follows:—1501
§ Two companies are at present subsidised on the London-Paris route. The amount and conditions of this subsidy are set forth in Command Paper 1521, published in October last. The terms and agreements therein set forth have been extended to 31st March.
§ From the 1st April three companies will be subsidised on this route under new conditions. Briefly summarised, these conditions are as follows:?—
- (1) A subsidy of 25 per cent. on gross takings.
- (2) Provision of not more than half the operating fleet by the Air Ministry on a hire purchase basis.
- (3) An additional grant during the period ending 28th February, 1923, of £3 per passenger and 3d. per 1b. of goods carried.
- (4) A reduction in the subsidy by the amount of any profit over 15 per cent.
- (5) In order to qualify for the subsidy, the firm, its personnel and aircraft, must be British, a specified regularity of service must be maintained, and fully detailed accounts must be kept for the information of the Air Ministry.
§ In regard to the third and fourth parts of this question, the arrangements in respect of the 25 per cent. subsidy and the provision of machines on the hire purchase basis hold good until 31st March, 1924. The provision of any additional grant under paragraph (3) above after 28th February, 1923, will be a matter for consideration prior to that date. I would add that tenders are now under consideration for the operation of the London-Brussels route by one company with the assistance of a subsidy.