HC Deb 23 May 1960 vol 624 cc32-4
42. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will state the reason for, and amount of, the surcharge made by him on the British European Air Services in respect of certain services in Scotland, indicating the date, duration, amount, and incidence of such surcharge.

49. Mr. Hendry

asked the Minister of Aviation what is the rate of surcharge being demanded from British European Airways for the use of Dyce Airport for Sunday services to Orkney, Shetland, and the south; and what is the actual cost of providing facilities for these services, having regard to the fact that Dyce Airport is used on Sundays for military purposes.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

The normal surcharge for the Sunday services which B.E.A. proposed to operate at Aberdeen, Kirwall and Sumburgh would be 75 per cent. of the standard landing fee, which would not cover the extra cost of opening the aerodromes. My right hon. Friend has therefore asked B.E.A. to pay the extra cost in full. This would be about£134 at Aberdeen,£30 at Kirkwall and£14 at Sumburgh on each Sunday. I understand that B.E.A.'s schedules covered every Sunday from 1st June to 1st October.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Minister realise that that Answer is based on a fallacy? Aberdeen Airport already opens on Sundays for other purposes, and to open it for the purpose now sought would not add any extra expense. Is the Minister aware, therefore, that he is in breach of duty in depriving the people of north-east Scotland of this service, and will he rectify that?

Mr. Rippon

The circumstance in which the aerodrome is now opened on Sundays is very different. In so far as the University Air Squadron is concerned, to which the hon. and learned Member may be referring, it is agreed that the cost shall be reimbursed by the Air Ministry.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will my hon. Friend publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT what it costs the taxpayers to keep all these services in Scotland going?

Mr. Rippon

Regarding these three aerodromes, I can say that each journey is subsidised to the extent of about£3.

Mr. Grimond

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that it is important to know the situation regarding Aberdeen, because the extra cost to Orkney and Shetland is not so very heavy? Further, is he aware that these services are heavily booked at weekends and that this is a moment when extra services would be economically justified? In view of the late cancellation of the services, is there any chance that they may be reopened again at least for this summer and then the future position reconsidered?

Mr. Rippon

The extra cost would be£1,800.