HC Deb 22 March 1960 vol 620 cc216-7
18. Mr. Russell

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the allowance of duty-free cigarettes and spirits which passengers can buy during the flight on British airlines is much less than that available on foreign airlines; and if he will remove this disadvantage in the interests, not only of the passengers, but also of the airlines.

Mr. Amory

The duty-free cigarettes and spirits which in this country can be taken on an aircraft as stores are limited by law to quantities for use on the flight, but this applies equally to British and foreign aircraft.

Mr. Russell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that foreign airlines can obtain larger quantities from stores abroad in their own countries, and does not he realise that this creates a disadvantage for British aircraft because it attracts passengers, other things being equal, to foreign rather than to British lines? Can he do something to change the regulations?

Mr. Amory

I do not think that my hon. Friend is right to suggest that this would amount to any material discrimination at all. The allowances we give are, I think, very generous and made on the basis that all the seats in the aircraft will be filled and that all the passengers in the seats will buy cigarettes and spirits.

Mr. Kershaw

Does my right hon. Friend suggest that the number of cigarettes should be limited to those used during the flight? Is he not aware that every single person who travels on British aircraft is allowed to buy 200 long cigarettes and take them free through the Customs, and they are sold at the last minute before landing? How can anyone smoke 200 cigarettes before he lands?

Mr. Amory

That is a separate matter. I am referring here, not to the allowance which is made in passing through the Customs, but to the allowance for supplies which is made to the aircraft.

Mr. H. Wilson

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that he would have our support in this matter, and can he give his hon. Friends any reason at all why those who travel in aircraft should be able to obtain their cigarettes duty-free while those who do not have to pay duty on every packet they buy?