§ 33. Mr. S. Silverman
asked the Minister of Aviation, in view of the fact that British European Airways was unable, owing to a shortage of aircraft, to provide a direct London-Leipzig service in connection with the recent Leipzig Fair, which was visited by over 1,000 British business men, what steps are being take to provide capital sanction for such an increase in the Corporation's fleet as will allow it the full use of all opportunities for profitable traffic; and why the application of Skyways Limited for permission to provide such a service was refused.
§ Mr. Sandys
Should B.E.A. ask me for financial approval for a further increase in the size of their fleet, I shall 23 be happy to consider it. Since this would not have been a scheduled service, Skyways did not need Government permission and did not ask for it. However, they informally inquired whether the necessary foreign traffic rights could be obtained and were told that this was likely to be difficult.
§ Mr. Silverman
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the net result of all this is that perhaps £50,000 or £60,000 worth of continental travel was lost to British airways, either the private firm or the public one, and that the difficulties which he anticipated in dealing with Skyways Ltd. unofficial inquiry were overcome by a great many other air firms in Europe, notably in Belgium and in France? Ought not the whole matter to be reconsidered in the light of the fact that this was a very large enterprise, that a very large number of people wanted transport, that they got there by foreign travel facilities, and when they got there they did a substantial amount of British business?
§ Mr. Sandys
The problem is one of obtaining foreign traffic rights, and the difficulties, as the hon. Gentleman knows, arise from the international status of East Germany.
§ Mr. Strauss
Is it a fact that in this off-season period B.E.A. really did not have sufficient aircraft to run an additional service or two to Leipzig?
§ At the end of Questions—
§ Mr. S. Silverman
On a point of order. I hope that I may raise with you, Mr. Speaker, a point of order arising out of the Answers to Question No. 33, especially the supplementary question asked by my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) and the answer given by the Minister to that supplementary question.
When I sought to table this Question, I wanted to ask the very question that my right hon. Friend the Member for Vauxhall asked, because it was my information that that was the reason given by the company for not establishing the service. I was told by the Table—and 24 I gladly accepted its advice—that it would not be in order to ask that Question because whether a service is run is not a matter for the Minister. Therefore, I had to put my Question in the form that it appears on the Order Paper.
If an answer is given to the question which I had been precluded from asking which is in direct contradiction to the information on which my Question was based, a difficult situation is produced. I wonder whether you, Mr. Speaker, can give me any guidance as to how a question of this kind, which has now been answered, I think wrongly, in the House, can get upon the Order Paper?
§ Mr. Speaker
I should like time to consider this point. I think that probably I was guilty of a failure in not stopping the out-of-order supplementary question, but I confess that there are moments when things go so fast that I fail to notice it in time. I will look into what the hon. Member has said to see whether it is possible to do anything to help him in the difficulty in which he now finds himself.