HC Deb 16 July 1969 vol 787 cc590-1
15. Mr. David Steel

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will ask the Scottish Economic Planning Board to undertake a study of available facilities for direct travel between Scotland and other European countries and their effect on the Scottish economy with a view to their improvement.

Mr. Ross

This matter is kept under review by the Transport Committee of the Scottish Economic Planning Council.

Mr. Steel

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the Transport Committee of the Economic Planning Council has considered the rather ludicrous situation where Loganair is required to charge fares from Glasgow and Aberdeen to Norway based on the assumption that one travels via London? Is this not outrageous? Ought we not to be able to get a fare structure for the flights which the public need direct from Scotland to parts of the Continent?

Mr. Ross

I agree that we want as many direct routes as we can. This is a matter not for me but for the licensing authority. If the hon. Gentleman has any point in mind I would be very glad to have a look at it. We do have the links, at present, provided by B.E.A., B.U.A., Iberia, S.A.S. Seaboard, Ice-landair, K.L.M. and Panam.

Mr. Dalyell

Since Edinburgh Airport is subject to low cloud and fog, is there not a priority requiring B.E.A. to install automatic landing gear for Tridents at this airport before any other United Kingdom airport outside London?

Mr. Ross

My hon. Friend should put that point to the President of the Board of Trade.

Mr. Grimond

Surely this is a rather ridiculous charging system, and it is a matter for the Secretary of State, representing Scotland? Is it not also an example of the importance of ensuring that when we go into the Common Market, if we do, all travel is not taken through London? Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that if we are to achieve adequate links from Scotland to the Continent, planning must begin now and this ridiculous nonsense of charging must be stopped and the system simplified?

Mr. Ross

I do not know whether it is ridiculous nonsense until I know something about it, and that is why I suggested to the hon. Member that he should write to me.

Forward to