HC Deb 04 December 1961 vol 650 cc920-2
1960 Mr. Burden

asked the Minister of Aviation (1) to what extent, when he came to the conclusion that British Overseas Airways Corporation had sufficient aircraft commitments to absorb all traffic increases for the next five or six years on all the routes they are operating, he took into account the fact that the growth in the capacity ton miles flown by the Corporation was from 245 millions in 1954–55 to 667 millions in

(2) whether, before granting the appeal of the British Overseas Airways Corporation against the decision of the Air Transport Licensing Board to grant a licence to Cunard Eagle Airways, Limited, as the result of an application hearing which opened on 16th May, 1961, he took into consideration the fact that the Corporation contractually ordered three Boeing 707 aircraft while the hearing was actually in progress.

Mr. Thorneycroft

In reaching my decision, I took account of all the evidence provided by the parties both at the Board hearing and at the hearing of the appeal before the Commissioner, which covers all matters to which the hon. Member refers and many others also. In reply to the latter part of Question No. 34, the hon. Member's figure for 1954–55 should be 205 millions capacity ton miles and the comparable figure for 1965–66 is expected to be of the order of 1,250 million.

Mr. Burden

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the figures were taken from the B.O.A.C. accounts and that if they are wrong then B.O.A.C.'s figures are incorrect and not mine? On the second point, my right hon. Friend has assessed that the growth over the next five years will be comparable with that of the last five years. As my right hon. Friend said earlier in answer to a question that the sharing of expansion should bring no loss to B.O.A.C., then why, in view of the enormous expansion he has said is likely by 1965, has he not allowed Cunard-Eagle to take at least its share of the Atlantic traffic expansion?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I am not criticising my hon. Friend; I am only trying to give the best figures available. As to the details of the appeal, I have already set out the reasons fully, the House debated it for a full day and it is, of course, impossible to deal with it by way of question and answer.

Mr. Chetwynd

Will the right hon. Gentleman not let the direct interests of the hon. Gentleman behind him cloud the clear judgment which he showed on the Cunard case when he comes to the applications now before him?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I do not allow anything to cloud my views.

Mr. Diamond

When the right hon. Gentleman came to that decision, was it a decision for the time being or for all time with regard to that particular route?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It was a decision on that particular appeal and on that appeal only.