HC Deb 20 May 1953 vol 515 cc2064-5
39. Mr. D. Jones

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether he is aware that, in spite of a recommendation by the Air Transport Advisory Council, endorsed by himself, for an air service between Greatham, County Durham, and Jersey, the service cannot be operated direct, because of a refusal by the Customs authorities to provide Customs clearance; and whether he will consult with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with a view to making it possible for his decision to be put into effect.

Mr. Profumo

My right hon. Friend approved the operation of services between Greatham and Jersey subject to such limitations as might be necessary for Customs reasons. The company were accordingly informed in February that, in the absence of Customs facilities at Greatham, the service would have to be operated via Newcastle or some other Customs airport. As the hon. Member knows, I am discussing this matter with my hon. Friend the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and, as he indicated yesterday, the matter is again being considered.

Mr. Jones

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the only difficulty about providing on-call Customs at this aerodrome is the refusal by the Customs people to exercise this year the facilities that were granted last year; and that there are now nearly 700 provisional bookings for this service between Greatham and Jersey, and that the decision of the Customs means that they will have to fly an additional 70 miles in order to get Customs facilities?

Mr. Profumo

As the matter is to be rediscussed, I should only be prejudicing those discussions if I entered into an argument with the hon. Member now.

Mr. Marquand

Is not the cost of providing Customs facilities trifling in comparison with the disadvantage to people on Tees-side not being able to get an air service?

Mr. Profumo

It is wrong to say that they cannot get an air service. It may be more difficult for them to operate from another Customs aerodrome but this can be done, and I am pleased to tell the right hon. Gentleman that the service concerned has already started.