HC Deb 13 November 1961 vol 649 cc20-1
26. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he is aware that British Overseas Airways Corporation associated companies sold and then within two years bought back their interest in Bahamas Airways; why he approved this action; and what was the loss they incurred in the following years acounts.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. C. M. Woodhouse)

Yes, Sir. The repurchase of these shares was primarily a matter for British Overseas Airways Corporations commercial judgment. The considerations affecting its decision are set out in its annual report and my right hon. Friend accepts both the validity of its arguments and responsibility for the action taken.

Mr. Rankin

Is it not the case that the Minister of Aviation has and has had for some time a special report on this matter, and does he propose to publish that report with full details for the information of this House? Is it not also the case that Bahamas Airways paid £200 an hour to Skyways for the aircraft engaged; and that that went on for two years and resulted in a total payment of between £700,000 and £800,000 which B.O.A.C. now has to pay?

Mr. Woodhouse

The answer to the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question is that all the necessary information has already been published in B.O.A.C.'s annual report. The answer to the second part is that the trading loss that B.O.A.C. had to bear for the year 1960–61 was not as high as the figure the hon. Gentleman gave. It was £405,728.