§ 43. Mr. Rankin
asked the Minister of Aviation if he is aware of the High Court ruling on 18th May last, that cut-price club air holidays are legal; and what action he proposes to take to acquire powers in this matter such as his department formerly purported to exercise.
§ 48. Mr. Strauss
asked the Minister of Aviation whether he proposes to introduce legislation, in the light of the High Court decision on 18th May that clubs organised by travel agencies to enable them to circumvent the conditions which bind airlines operating scheduled services, are legal.
§ Mr. Sandys
I am aware of this decision. The Civil Aviation (Licensing) Bill is designed to provide the powers needed to bring services of this kind under proper control.
§ Mr. Rankin
The right hon. Gentleman will realise that he has not answered the Question. He knows that the Bill is not yet an Act of Parliament. Can he say what he proposes to do between now and the time when the Bill becomes law? If an application is made for one of these flights, must he automatically accept the application, or what power has he to prevent a club holiday scheme going on, so that the services of the nationalised Corporations may not be prejudiced?
§ Mr. Sandys
I do not think this decision will have much practical effect for the simple reason that these services are arranged quite a time in advance. Before the next series of services can be brought in, services which have been planned since the decision of the court, the new Bill—assuming that it goes through both Houses—will be in force.
§ Mr. Strauss
Is the Minister aware that some travel agencies seem to take an entirely different view from that which he has expressed? They have expressed a belief that despite the provisions of the new Bill, this decision will allow them to undertake charter arrangements 35 under the guise of a club and charge any fares they like irrespective of the charges which scheduled services have to apply? Is the Minister quite convinced that when the new legislation becomes law that will not be possible?
§ Mr. Sandys
That was one of the points which we looked at very carefully indeed when the Bill was drafted. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, from the discussions which we had during the passage of the Bill about passengers travelling on separate fares even though they may be members of a club, any flight involving such passengers will require an air service licence.