HC Deb 15 July 1974 vol 877 cc3-4
2. Mr. George Gardiner

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he will now announce the outcome of his Department's inquiry into future air traffic needs and, arising from this, the Government's decisions affecting the development of existing and projected airports.

28. Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he has yet completed his review of the Maplin project; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Shore

I shall be making a statement shortly about the reappraisal of the Maplin airport project which I announced on 21st March.

Mr. Spearing

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the debates in Committee on the Maplin Development Bill it was stated that a great deal of the demand for airports in South-East England was due to the fact that it was cheaper to send package tour passengers from the North of England to the South by motor coach than to fly them direct from their local airports? Will he ascertain whether this is confirmed? If it is found to be correct, will he take it into account in the statement that he is to make?

Mr. Shore

One matter that has to be looked at very carefully in future is the part—I hope the increased part—that regional airports can play in handling our total air traffic.

Mr. Allason

Will the right hon. Gentleman take the opportunity of reaffirming the decision by the previous Government that Luton should be phased out of international airport operations by 1982 as it is thoroughly unsatisfactorily sited?

Mr. Shore

It would be wrong for me to give that assurance at present and it would certainly be wrong for me to make a statement of that or any kind in advance of the statement that I hope to make on Maplin.

Mr. Heseltine

Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that he must have given some remit to the inquiry which is now taking place and that included in that remit would be a direction at least to look at the possibility of Luton being phased out?

Mr. Shore

The inquiry has been asked to look at a number of reasonable options, including the option of the retention of Luton.

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