HC Deb 05 May 1965 vol 711 cc1341-2
25. Mr. Brewis

asked the Minister of Aviation when he proposes to review the allocation of Scandinavian Airlines System airline services through Prestwick.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

I have agreed with the Governments of Sweden, Norway and Denmark to review the situation in the winter of 1965–66, taking into account this summer's traffic results.

Mr. Brewis

While thanking the Minister for that reply, may I ask him whether he can say what further consideration he is giving to more direct communications between Glasgow and business centres on the Continent, because this is very important for Scotland's development?

Mr. Jenkins

As I have indicated previously, I am very eager to see the opening up of genuinely new routes from this country to international points, and also within this country, and that is the policy I shall pursue.

Mr. Manuel

Is my right hon. Friend aware that he should review this whole question of S.A.S. services through Prestwick as early as possible? Is he further aware that the view is held unanimously in the Prestwick area, and, indeed, throughout Scotland, that he should, if possible, expand S.A.S. services through Prestwick?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, but I hope that my hon. Friend and the House will bear in mind that I have already increased the number of services for the summer from three a week—which was all the previous Government were prepared to allow—to four a week, and that the problem here is essentially, not services between this area and any other Continental point, in Scandinavia or elsewhere in Europe—they may fly as many services as they wish—but the question of services through Prestwick and across the North Atlantic. I must have some regard to the position of B.O.A.C., which, in response to a great number of requests, has now speeded up services from Prestwick and is providing, as nobody would dispute, a very satisfactory transatlantic service.

Mr. Younger

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the very success of the B.O.A.C., which has been working very hard to develop this transatlantic traffic, makes it unnecessary to limit these Scandinavia air services any more?

Mr. Jenkins

I do not think so. The services on the transatlantic routes are fully adequate for the traffic offering itself. Much as I should like to see traffic built up, I must have regard to the amount of traffic available.

Mr. George Y. Mackie

Is not the Minister aware that it is not a transaltantic service that we are worried about, so much as what is going the other way? We are concerned about picking up people when they come back, and flying them from Prestwick to the Continent, and from the Continent back to Prestwick. Cannot the right hon. Gentleman bend international agreements a little to allow this?

Mr. Jenkins

I am aware of this, but the difficulty is that it is the transatlantic service in which the S.A.S. is finally interested, and there is a certain degree of conflict of interest on which I have to try to hold a balance.