HC Deb 26 November 1962 vol 668 cc13-4
16. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Aviation what action he is taking by issue of general directions to the Air Corporations to co-ordinate the activity of the British Overseas Airways Corporation, British European Airways and the privately-owned airlines, having regard to the increased competition which will result from the impending integration of Air France, Alitalia, Sabena, Lufthansa and UAT/TAI into Air Union, and the consideration being given by major United States airlines to merging.

Mr. J. Amery

I am following these developments overseas with close interest, but have no statement to make at this time.

Mr. Cronin

Will the Minister bear in mind that it is particularly unfortunate that as a result of the Civil Aviation Licensing Act, 1960, and subsequent Government policy, British airlines are now competing against each other, to the joy of their foreign competitors, while all the other foreign airlines tend to amalgamate and increase their competitive strength?

Mr. Amery

I am sure the hon. Gentleman will be aware that the area of over- lap is in fact very small. B.E.A. have specialised in European short-range runs and B.O.A.C. in world-wide runs. There is some overlapping. This is a problem which I have very much in mind, but it is still a fairly limited one.

Mr. Eden

Will my right hon. Friend encourage the two Corporations to coordinate their selling organisations outside this country, particularly in the U.S.A.? Can he say whether there is any likelihood before long of encouraging any one of these Corporations to join Air Union, or is it too early to say anything about that?

Mr. Amery

On the first point, some progress has been made in this direction, although I agree with my hon. Friend that there is room for further progress. On the subject of Air Union, I have nothing to add at the present time.