HC Deb 28 January 1970 vol 794 cc1531-3
19. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade what was the frequency in 1969 of British Overseas Airways Corporation scheduled flights on the North Atlantic route between the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

The published timetables in the ABC World Airways Guide, a copy of which is in the Library, show that the weekly passenger services frequencies in each direction were 48 last winter, 71 in the summer and 54 this winter. There were nine weekly all-cargo flights throughout the year.

Mr. Fortescue

Does not the Minister find these figures disappointingly small, especially in view of the fact that yet another American airline has just been licensed on the North Atlantic? When does he plan to introduce the recommendation of the Edwards Committee, that a further British operator should be licensed on the Atlantic, preferably an independent?

Mr. Roberts

The White Paper on the Edwards Report has been published and the Government are moving towards drafting their proposals. On the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question I would say that we now command 25 per cent, of the frequencies across the transatlantic route, and we are in discussion with the United States Government about increasing this.

Mr. Robert Howarth

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the great increase in scheduled services being introduced this year by B.O.A.C., to many places in the United States by direct flights, including one to match the new American carrier mentioned by the hon. Gentleman? Would this not help to increase the share that B.O.A.C. already holds?

Mr. Roberts

It may well be the case and this will form part of the discussions that we are having with the Americans.

Mr. Corfield

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the pressures from scheduled operators, particularly in America, to restrict charter operations to protect scheduled operators with large capacity aircraft?

Mr. Roberts

I am aware of this attitude and it is one reason why we are having negotiations.