HC Deb 22 July 1970 vol 804 cc527-8
27. Mr. Cronin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will take steps to reduce air fares on flights of which the fares are fixed in accordance with agreements made by members of the International Air Traffic Association.

Mr. Corfield

I trust that the existing machinery can be used to secure international agreement to the lowest air fares consistent with the safety and prosperity of our airlines.

Mr. Cronin

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that it is time there was some investigation into the way in which air fares are fixed by I.A.T.A.? Is it not the case that in the majority of cases these air fares are excessively high and that this causes hardship to people taking their holidays and other forms of travel?

Mr. Corfield

I agree that it is possible to think of endless criticisms of I.A.T.A. Nevertheless, it is not easy to think of a better organisation to conduct this necessary function. However, I greatly welcome the B.O.A.C. Early Bird proposals and hope that these will set the trend for a number of similar reductions.

Mr. Russell Kerr

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that air fares in Australia, for example, are rather less than half those of the European structure? Will he use his best endeavours to "put the boot" into I.A.T.A. to see if we can get some sanity into this business so that we can get into the mass market, as many hon. Members want to see?

Mr. Corfield

I am always willing to look for opportunities to "put the boot" into all sorts of things.

Mr. William Hamilton

Tory skinheads.

Mr. Corfield

If the hon. Member for Feltham (Mr. Russell Kerr) will look at some of the Australian fare structures, he will find that they will do very well when in partnership with B.O.A.C.

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