HC Deb 03 February 1986 vol 91 cc8-9
5. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has reached a decision on the Civil Aviation Authority's advice on the allocation of British Airways' financial assistance to independent airlines; and if he will make a statement.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr. Michael Spicer)

Yes, Sir. Based upon the Civil Aviation Authority's advice, we have recommended 15 services to British Airways for assistance. I hope that the detailed arrangements can now be completed quickly so that the new services can be started as soon as possible.

Mr. McCrindle

I welcome the development of these new services, but will my hon. Friend say what steps he has taken to ensure that the appropriate traffic rights are available? Will he confirm that the other undertaking in last year's White Paper—the development of longer-haul services in competition with British Airways—remains part of the Government's policy? What is he doing to prosecute that?

Mr. Spicer

As for traffic rights, following the new, more liberal, arrangements that we have made with Scandinavia and West Germany, traffic rights are available on all routes except Glasgow to Gothenburg and Aberdeen to Esbjerg, and we hope that they will be sorted out soon. Our policy on multiple designation was set out in the White Paper on airline competition policy and we are, of course, sticking to it.

Mr. Carter-Jones

If the Minister is so keen on multiple designation, would he be prepared to add some money to that already being paid by British Airways to finance this scheme?

Mr. Spicer

No, Sir. The agreement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State last year was for £450,000 to be given to 15 routes, which is a pretty generous arrangement.

Mr. Steen

As Britain has more independent and charter airlines than any other European country, will my hon. Friend ensure that our European partners do not drive some of our independent airlines out of business by insisting on noise regulations for those airlines that fly special planes not used by other European countries?

Mr. Spicer

I am mindful, as is my hon. Friend, who does much work in that area for the industry, of the problems and the opportunities facing our airlines. In Europe our airlines are in a strong position—due in large measure to the policies of this Government. We shall do everything that we can to ensure that those opportunities are fulfilled.