HC Deb 04 December 1961 vol 650 cc907-9
7. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of Aviation what steps he is taking to maintain air services to Aberdeen and the north of Scotland.

15. Mr. Manuel

asked the Minister of Aviation what action he is taking to ensure the maintenance of air services in the north of Scotland.

30. Mr. J. MacLeod

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement on the future of air services in the north of Scotland.

32. Mr. Grimond

asked the Minister of Aviation if the services being run by British European Airways north of Edinburgh and Glasgow are to be subject to contraction.

33. Mr. N. McLean

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will make a statement on the future development of air services in Scotland north of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr. Woodhouse

These services are being maintained by B.E.A. and I am not aware of any proposals affecting their future which at present call for action on my part.

Mr. Hughes

May I take that answer as meaning that there will be no diminution in the services which have hitherto existed? Will there be any extension of those services in the near future?

Mr. Woodhouse

These are both matters for the air operators.

Mr. MacLeod

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that it is essential to the development of this rather neglected area that we should maintain and extend these services for the future well-being of the area?

Mr. Woodhouse

I am sure that my hon. Friend's remarks will be noted by B.E.A. and other operators. The Government cannot undertake to subsidise air services, but they make a considerable contribution to the maintenance of the northern Scottish airports.

Mr. Grimond

Will the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that any large reduction in these services will be very serious for the whole area? Will he look into two points? First, is he aware that it is a common complaint that one cannot get bookings on these services in the summer? Secondly, would it not be possible by a slight alteration, perhaps, in his own Ministry's regulations, to make these services rather more economical, bearing in mind the type of area they serve?

Mr. Woodhouse

I should be very glad to consider any suggestions hon. Members may make for more economical services, but the responsibility for the conduct of the services remains with the operators.

Mr. Strachey

Does the hon. Member think that it is any use asking B.E.A. to keep these matters in mind if, at the same time, large sections of remunerative routes are taken away from B.E.A.? How can it be expected to run the unremunerative routes while facing encroachments in the case of the remunerative ones?

Mr. Woodhouse

B.E.A. has been running these unremunerative services for a long time, and the encroachments to which the right hon. Member has referred do not entail any diminution in the future, as the Licensing Board has put forward in its arguments.

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