HC Deb 08 July 1964 vol 698 cc387-8
11. Mr. Dempsey

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will take steps to regulate the operations of companies offering chartered flights, and to protect passengers from companies which fail to carry out the services for which they have been paid.

Mr. Marten

Charter flights undertaken by aircraft on the British or Colonial register are regulated by the Air Transport Licensing Board under the Civil Aviation (Licensing) Act, 1960. Those undertaken by other aircraft are regulated by the Ministry of Aviation under the Air Navigation Order, 1960.

As regards the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to my reply to the hon. Member on 18th February, 1963.

Mr. Dempsey

Yes, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that since then there has been considerable dissatisfaction as a result of the uncertainty about these flights taking place? Does he realise that we have had several complaints from people travelling from the County of Lanark? Did he notice the incident which occurred at Prestwick as recently as the beginning of last week, when people were kept all day and practically all night on the plane and off the plane before their fears were put to rest and at last the flight was able to take place? Ought not the general public to have some protection against those types of people and incidents?

Mr. Marten

The fact is that the general public have their legal rights of contract under whatever term they book their passage. But failure to carry out flights may derive from circumstances outside the control of the carrier—for example, safety considerations, or even strikes.

Mr. Cronin

Is it not the case, though, that the right hon. Gentleman has allowed an enormous increase in charter flights without proper conditions for safeguarding against variations of these charter flights so far as the general public are concerned?

Mr. Marten