HC Deb 22 July 1959 vol 609 cc1255-6
17. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in order to improve efficiency and reduce waiting time at airports, he will try to obtain the agreement of the airline companies to include the airport charges in the passenger fare.

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. Wall

Is my hon. Friend aware that that reply will give much satisfaction? Will he continue to press the I.A.T.A. to include this charge in the ticket?

Mr. Hay

British airlines have pressed this point at I.A.T.A. meetings and I am advised that they intend to do so again this autumn.

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 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.