HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc399-400
13. Mr. Younger

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will give a general direction, in the public interest, to the nationalised airlines to use British rather than foreign airports for the training of aircrews.

Mr. Stonehouse

No, Sir; I regard this as a matter to be decided by the Air Corporations themselves.

Mr. Younger

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that British European Airways is doing much of its pilot training at Shannon and, possibly, Malta? Would it not be advantageous if the money used for this purpose were spent in this country, to the benefit of our balance of payments, and is it not within the Minister's power to see that it is worth the Corporation's while to do this?

Mr. Stonehouse

I think that there are grounds for persuading our airlines to use the facilities which can be provided here. I shall, with the British Airports Authority, investigate the question to see whether some special arrangements can be made. The hon. Gentleman will bear in mind, none the less, that there are weather and traffic congestion problems in this country which do not always arise elsewhere.

Mr. Stainton

Will the hon. Gentleman confirm that, quite apart from weather and geography, the duty-free aspect of Shannon as regards fuel and so on has a great bearing on the matter?

Mr. Stonehouse

Yes, and we shall bear that in mind.

Mr. Lubbock

Do the landing charges imposed at United Kingdom airports have anything to do with the decision of the Corporation to use Shannon?

Mr. Stonehouse

We do, in fact, allow the airlines special fees which are 25 per cent. of the normal cost when they use an airfield for training.