§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Hay)
I assume my hon. and gallant Friend refers to the passenger service charge levied on the airlines.
We strongly favour the suggestion that the airlines should absorb this charge in the fare, but the International Air Transport Association has so far been unable to accept this proposal. As an alternative method of avoiding delay and irritation to passengers, we encourage airlines and travel agents to collect the service charge in advance, along with the charge for the passenger fare.
§ Mr. Strauss
What authority has the Minister over this matter? If the airlines were approached individually, surely there is no reason why they could not accept? Have they been so approached?
§ Mr. Hay
No, Sir. I think that the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands the situation. The passenger service charge is levied on the airlines and not on the passengers. It is an alternative to an increase 1256 in landing charges. It is important to realise that it is a charge on the airline in that sense and we are therefore obliged to continue to charge it.