HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc888-9
9. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Trade when he last met the chairman of British Airways.

Mr. Tebbit

My right hon. Friend and I last met Mr. Ross Stainton on 26 June 1979.

Mr. McCrindle

When the Minister welcomes Mr. Stainton to the chairmanship of British Airways, will he urge him to improve the quality and reliability of its services. They have fallen behind considerably in recent months. To that end, and with a view to increasing profitability and productivity, will the Minister countenance any move to reduce over-manning in British Airways, at least to the extent of natural wastage?

Mr. Tebbit

The day-to-day management of British Airways is for the board. In conversations with Mr. Ross Stainton and his colleagues, my right hon. Friend and I made plain that we supported the ambition of British Airways to be a substantial, profitable carrier in the years to come.

Mr. Molyneaux

In view of the urgent need to conserve fuel, will the Minister draw the attention of British Airways to the waste involved in supplying a special aircraft to fly to Glasgow crews who refuse to stay overnight in Northern Ireland?

Mr. Tebbit

I am sure that British Airways will take note of what the hon. Gentleman says, and I shall draw the matter to the attention of the corporation.

Mr. Buchan

Will the Minister make a clear, flat and unequivocal statement to the chairman of British Airways that the Government have no intention of including the corporation in the ludicrous denationalisation proposals? Furthermore, it should be stated that the public and the workers in that corporation will not tolerate an industry that has received massive public support being stripped in that way.

Mr. Tebbit

I assure the hon. Gentleman that there will be no ludicrous proposals about British Airways.

Mr. Wilkinson

In his review of the future of British Airways, will my hon. Friend consider carefully the possibility of allowing some private equity participation in the corporation? Will he bear in mind that national carriers such as Swissair and Lufthansa are not wholly State-owned and provide a good service for the travelling public?

Mr. Tebbit

That is precisely the sort of consideration that will be taken into account, because it is a sensible one.

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