HC Deb 19 March 1958 vol 584 cc1260-1
36. Mr. Gresham Cooke

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether his approval has now been given to all the decisions that have been reached by the International Air Transport Association with regard to transatlantic passenger fares; and what consideration has been given to introducing some element of competition in fares of scheduled services on this route.

Mr. Watkinson

The answer to the first part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir." As regards the second part, the practice accepted by Governments in the past has been that a system of agreed fares is in the best interests of air transport.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the single fare from New York to San Francisco is $80 and that the same distance from London to New Work carries a single fare of $250; and that the discrepancy is brought about by the International Air Transport Association agreement? Is there not a case for letting a little frsh air of competition into the North Atlantic route, despite the activities of the Association?

Mr. Watkinson

I will look at what my hon. Friend has said, but I think he will be aware that the new economy fare on the North Atlantic route represents a considerable drop in costs.

Mr. Beswick

Is it not a fact that there has not been competition across the Atlantic because of international cooperation and planning, and that we have a fine service which is much cheaper than it was ten years ago?

Mr. Watkinson

There are many different views on this matter. I welcome competition as a way of getting costs down. I think the level of fares is being reduced.