HC Deb 27 February 1952 vol 496 cc1138-9
40. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation the reason for the imposition of a passenger-landing charge at British airports; and the estimated annual yield.

Mr. Maclay

The charge will make a contribution towards the cost of providing services and facilities for passengers at State airports. In this way the net cost to the Exchequer of operating the airports will be reduced. The yield in the coming financial year is estimated at £200,000.

Mr. Davies

Was there full consultation with the corporations before this charge was imposed, and was full weight given to their views and to the possibility of great inconvenience to passengers, particularly to tourists?

Mr. Maclay

Full weight was given to all those considerations. I should add that the corporations were consulted about the method of imposing this charge.

Mr. G. B. Drayson

Is it the intention of the Minister that this charge should be included in the passenger tickets and paid by the air companies, or that passengers should pay the charge separately upon arrival?

Mr. Maclay

It is a matter for the air line operators concerned as to the most convenient and most practicable method of imposing the charge.

Mr. F. Beswick

Were other countries consulted in regard to the charge?

Mr. Maclay

Other countries were not consulted in the matter.

Mr. George Wood

Has the Minister considered grading the charge so that passengers coming long distances, for example across the Atlantic, pay more than passengers coming short distances, as from Paris?

Mr. Maclay

Yes, Sir. The question of grading has been considered, and grading is in fact applied.

41. Lieut.-Colonel H. M. Hyde

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether the new service charge of 5s. for each passenger arriving at United Kingdom airports from Europe will apply, under his regulations, to passengers from Eire.

Mr. Maclay

Yes, Sir.

Lieut.-Colonel Hyde

Does the Minister not agree that in the case of citizens of Eire the charge should be remitted, in accordance with the principle laid down in the Nationality Act that those citizens are to be treated as far as possible as citizens of the United Kingdom?

Mr. Maclay

There are a lot of considerations to be remembered in connection with this matter, but the principal one is that Eire cannot be considered for this purpose as an internal service. It is a question of internal and external services.