HC Deb 30 June 1954 vol 529 cc1349-50
38. Sir H. Williams

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation the capital cost to date of London Airport and the annual cost of its operation, including capital and depreciation charges, and fees paid for the use of its facilities.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Profumo)

The capital cost of London Airport met from Civil Aviation Votes up to 31st March, 1954, was approximately £19 million. In addition, about £1½ million has been spent on purchase of land and certain costs incurred outside the airport. The annual cost of operating the airport, excluding capital and depreciation charges (for which, on aerodromes, there is no recognised basis of assessment), is about £900,000. Fees paid for the use of the aerodrome's facilities and other revenue at present total about £840,000 per annum.

Sir H. Williams

As London Airport is equivalent to a railway station, it must be losing £1 million a year. May I ask if that is not, in effect, another subsidy to the various air services using it?

Mr. Profumo

I cannot accept that London Airport is equivalent to a railway station. There is a great difference indeed. Moreover, the revenue from London Airport is progressively increasing. We expect a very substantial increase in this next year when the facilities in the central area are open.

Mr. Stokes

If I put down a Question on the Order Paper will the Minister tell me the rateable value of the land before purchase?

Mr. Profumo

If the right hon. Gentleman will put down a Question I will do my best to answer it.

Mr. Shinwell

Is it not desirable that London Airport and airports generally in the United Kingdom should compare favourably, or on equal terms, with airports in other countries?

Mr. Profumo

I think that London Airport does compare very favourably, and that this House has every reason to be extremely proud both of London Airport and all our other airports.

Sir H. Williams

Is not the annual interest charge on this enterprise about £1 million a year?

Mr. Emus Hughes

How much for the landlords?

Mr. Profumo

No, Sir. My hon. Friend has got the matter slightly out of proportion. There is no waste at London Airport. Its revenue is going up every year. If my hon. Friend would put down another Question in about two years' time, I should be able to give him a satisfactory answer.