HC Deb 18 July 1969 vol 787 cc1179-80

3.20 p.m.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. William Rodgers)

I beg to move, That the Carriage by Air Acts (Application of Provisions) (Amendment) Order, 1969, a draft of which was laid before this House on 3rd July, be approved. This Order amends the Carriage by Air Acts (Application of Provisions) Order 1967, which, among other things, extended to air mail the principles of the Warsaw Convention as amended at The Hague and of the Quadalajara Convention, which impose liability in respect of carriage of goods and limit a carirer's liability in the event of loss or damage occurring during air transport.

At the time the 1967 Order was made, air mail services were run by the Postmaster-General, who enjoyed certain exemptions from liability in relation to the postal services. In order to preserve these exemptions, the 1967 Order con- tained provisions ensuring that it imposed no liability on the Postmaster-General. The House is aware that, if the Post Office Bill is enacted, we expect the new Post Office to take over the running of the postal services from 1st October next. This House and another place have recently debated the Post Office Bill at length and have decided that the new Post Office should have the same exemptions from liability as the Postmaster-General. It is, therefore, necessary to make a consequential amendment to the 1967 Order so that it will cover the new situation. The Order at present before us, therefore, amends the 1967 Order so that it will cover the new Post Office when it begins operating.

I should, perhaps, add that Clause 29(3) of the Post Office Bill, if enacted, may well necessitate further amendment of the Carriage by Air Acts (Application of Provisions) Order 1967. That. however, is a more complex issue which will involve prior consultation with those concerned and does not in any way affect the immediate necessity for the present Amendment Order which, I repeat, is designed solely to ensure that any authority established to provide postal services shall enjoy the same immunity as the Postmaster-General at present enjoys in respect of carriage of mails by air.

Question put and agreed to.