HC Deb 20 May 1963 vol 678 cc10-1
14. Mr. Cronin

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement on his negotiations with the Italian aviation authorities to obtain traffic rights for British United Airways between London and Genoa.

Mr. Marten

Yes, Sir. The result of the negotiations was that the Italian Government have conceded to us the new route between the United Kingdom and Genoa in return for our agreement to changes in the conditions they impose on B.O.A.C.'s carriage of traffic between London and Rome.

Mr. Cronin

Was not this agreement obtained at a cost of £50,000 a year paid by B.O.A.C., although that Corporation was not involved, to the Italian airlines, and a diversion of revenue of £350,000 a year from B.E.A.? Did not the Minister put pressure on the Italian Government, by cutting down the number of flights from Italy to England, to obtain this result? Although B.U.A. is an excellent airline, does not this amount to an obsessional desire to divert revenue to the pockets of private shareholders?

Mr. Marten

That last statement is completely wrong. Whether B.O.A.C. will lose anything will depend on negotiations among the companies concerned, and I think that the worst which they may have to pay will be much less than the £50,000 which has been mentioned. In return we shall have gained a new and valuable route which would otherwise have been the preserve of Italian airlines. All negotiations of this kind involve give and take. Each possible deal has to be judged on the basis of whether it advances our civil aviation interests as a whole.