HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc924-5
48. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a statement about his recent change of policy on charter flights from the United Kingdom in larger aircraft by fifth freedom carriers.

Mr. Anthony Grant

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Minister for Trade to my hon. Friend the Member for Woking (Mr. Onslow) on 17th June.

Mr. Huckfield

As I am sure the hon. Member is aware, that reply was not very informative. Is he aware that it represents nothing but a few sniping shots in what is becoming a charter bilateral war with the United States? Would not he do far better by offering a more comprehensive review of charter rates and by supporting B.O.A.C. in its endeavour to reduce fares in Montreal this week?

Mr. Grant

We are reviewing the complex position of charters. What the hon. Member says will be borne in mind, but I am not able to announce a change of policy at this moment.

Dr. Gilbert

Will the Minister take note of the extraordinary reduction of fares reported in newspaper articles? They are so far out of line with the fares on the scheduled routes that even the more respectful citizens will be tempted by them. Is the Minister aware that that is not a healthy state of affairs and that something needs doing urgently?

Mr. Grant

I accept that. We are aware of it and are reviewing the position carefully. But it is largely an international problem.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Can my hon. Friend say when he is likely to reach a decision that no changes are required in this matter? The situation now is becoming somewhat chaotic on both the schedule and the charter side and something should be done.

Mr. Grant

I am not in a position to say when this will be completed, but my right hon. Friend and I will take note of the urgency expressed by hon. Members on both sides of the House.