HL Deb 29 April 1982 vol 429 cc955-6
Baroness Burton of Coventry

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 whether, as agreement has now been reached with Thai International, Malaysian Airline System, Singapore Airlines and Quantas that they will join with British Airways and the Association of British Travel Agents in the sale and availability of discounted air tickets, they will make a statement on the three months' experiment carried out by some 2,000 IATA/ABTA approved agents on certain British Airways routes to the Far East and whether this experiment is to be continued.

The Secretary of State for Trade (Lord Cockfield)

My Lords, I understand that following agreement with the airlines named, British Airways have not filed for a further extension of their special low fares to Bangkok, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Jakarta. They have however filed with the Civil Aviation Authority to extend their special fares to Manila, Tokyo and Osaka for a further short period while discussions continue with the airlines concerned. The Government support British Airways' efforts to secure agreement within the industry and are pleased to note the progress which has been made.

Baroness Burton of Coventry

My Lords, is the Minister aware how much I am hoping that the new Minister will be a good thing so far as I am concerned in the Questions that I have been pursuing? I should like to follow that by thanking him for his Answer and asking him whether he is aware how glad British Airways will be at the support which is now given publicly by the Government to what they are trying to do? I should like to ask him one further question. If British Airways should feel that they would wish to extend this experiment in lower price tickets to Europe, would the Government feel able to give them any help in that direction?

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for what she said in the first part of her supplementary question. We do, of course, support British Airways in all the efforts that they are making to restore what is a great airline to profitability. That, I am sure, is an objective which has the support not only of both sides of the House but of the staff who work for British Airways as well. As regards the second part of the noble Baroness's question, that is a matter in the first instance for the airways concerned to pursue with the Civil Aviation Authority.

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