HL Deb 08 March 1972 vol 329 cc105-6

2.45 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government, bearing in mind the existing air services between London and Gilbraltar; Madrid and Gibraltar; Tangier and Gibraltar; Marrakesh and Gibraltar, (a) whether they have any proposals for further air services to and from Gibraltar; and (b) what is the present position regarding the proposed Gibraltar Airways (Gibair) service between Gibraltar and Lisbon.]


My Lords, any proposals for further air services at Gibraltar would be a matter for the commercial judgment of airlines in the first place. But Her Majesty's Government would be glad to see additional services by duly licensed British operators or by foreign airlines in the terms of the United Kingdom's bilateral air services agreements. As regards the proposed service between Gibraltar and Lisbon by Gibraltar Airways, the approval of the Portuguese authorities is required and this has not yet been forthcoming.


My Lords, I should like to thank my noble friend for that reply. Is he aware that I raised this matter on March 26, 1970, on April 6, 1971, and again to-day? Would he not agree that an extension of a B.E.A. United Kingdom to Portugal service from Lisbon or Faro to Gibraltar would be a logical development of air services and would also assist the economy of Gibraltar?


My Lords, I think that the two parts of my Answer really covered that point. If B.E.A. were to apply for such a service no doubt it would be considered, but no application has been received for an extension of a London/Lisbon service to Gibraltar.


My Lords, it may be that there has been no application from B.E.A., but can the noble Lord say whether the Government of Gibraltar have made representations to Her Majesty's Government about the inadequacy of services into Gibraltar, particularly bearing in mind the difficulties of Gibraltar and their great need for and dependence on tourism?


My Lords, Her Majesty's Government do not consider that there is any shortage of services into Gibraltar at the present time, in relation to the traffic offered. I am not in a position to say whether the Gibraltar Government have been pursuing this matter recently, but I will certainly make enquiries.


My Lords, in regard to the latter part of my noble friend's Answer to my original Question concerning the various services, and while welcoming very much Dr. Patricio's visit here thus cementing the historic and present close links between Portugal and this country, may I ask my noble friend whether in the context of the political and economic discussions which have taken place with Dr. Patricio and his colleagues the question of air communications was raised at any of the meetings in London?


My Lords, I understand that Dr. Patricio is still here. I am not in a position to commit my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary as to what he discusses or declines to discuss with Dr. Patricio.