§ 1. Mr. Wingfield Digby
asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will institute a full inquiry, on the lines of the Beeching Report, into the operation of the British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.
§ Mr. Digby
Is my hon. Friend aware that many people doubt whether the Corbett Report is nearly sweeping enough and are disquieted by the ser- 2 vices which B.E.A. renders to the domestic public in England? Is there not a strong case for considering the two Corporations together, the functions they are performing and the money they are losing?
§ Mr. Marten
The current state of B.E.A. does not warrant an inquiry of that sort. It is expected that it will again show a profit in the current year. An inquiry into B.O.A.C. affairs is in progress, and my right hon. Friend's chief immediate concern must be to consider what is necessary to put it on a sound financial footing. The possibility of merging the two Corporations has often been discussed and it is naturally a matter to which we have given thought.
§ Mr. Rankin
Is it not the case that up to last year B.E.A. had eight years of surplus trading on its routes? Is it not remarkable that very few hon. Members opposite said anything about that?
§ Mr. Marten
I believe that is correct. The choice of whether or not to operate a route is primarily a matter for the commercial judgment of B.E.A., and I think that it has largely been right.