HC Deb 06 July 1966 vol 731 cc402-3
4. Mr. Peter Mills

asked the Minister of Aviation what applications he has received from airlines for assistance in re-establishing air services to South-West England, in view of the fact that there is no direct link by air from the South-West to London.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Julian Snow)

None, Sir.

Mr. Mills

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that this is a very serious matter and is most disturbing to say the least? Would he give every encouragement to either private operators or B.E.A. to restore this link between London and the South-West, even if it means a temporary grant or temporary subsidy to get it under way again?

Mr. Snow

No, Sir. My Department has no authority to grant such subsidies. But the question of restoring the link is for the commercial judgment of potential operators.

Dr. John Dunwoody

Adequate air services in this part of the country are an essential part of the transport network. Will my hon. Friend consider whether his Ministry could exert some pressure on British European Airways if the private concerns are unable to provide this badly needed service?

Mr. Snow

An application has been made by British Eagle to extend its present London-Newquay-Helston licence to include Exeter.

Mr. Geoffrey Wilson

Does the hon. Gentleman appreciate how important a service to the South-West is for the development area and the establishment of industry, because it is the inability of people to come from the Midlands or London to the new development area and get back in the same day which causes a strong disincentive to the development of subsidiary factories in the South-West?

Mr. Snow

Yes, Sir, the Government accept that proposition; but the airline operators have to find the customers, and that is their responsibility.

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