HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 c1339
20. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Minister of Aviation on how many occasions during the last five years licences to operate by the Air Licensing Board have been rendered abortive by the failure to negotiate bilaterals; and how many such cases affected the State Corporations and independent airlines, respectively.

Mr. Stonehouse

Between October, 1960, when the Air Transport Licensing Board was set up, and 31st March, 1965, 307 licences were granted for international scheduled services. Of these, 170 were granted to independent companies and 137 to the Corporations. Thirteen—all to independent operators—have been rendered abortive by failure to gain foreign approval. Three are still under negotiation of which two are held by independents and one by a State Corporation.

Mr. Shepherd

Can the hon. Gentleman say why the independents have been relatively so unfortunate in this connection? Is there any suggestion that perhaps the Minister does not pursue bilaterals in favour of independents with the same vigour as he pursues them for the Corporation?

Mr. Stonehouse

I do not accept that the independents have been unfortunate. There has been a tremendous growth in the independents' operations on these international routes within the last few years, and certainly my Ministry pursues with the utmost vigour applications from independent airlines, just as much as it does for the State lines.