HL Deb 27 January 1983 vol 438 cc365-6

3.8 p.m.

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 what conclusions were reached at the four meetings held by the European Air Navigation Planning Group to look into specific IATA proposals concerning 10 routes within the European Economic Community which could produce considerable savings for airlines and passengers in finance, fares and fuel; and whether they will make a statement.

The Secretary of State for Trade (Lord Cockfield)

My Lords, agreement in principle was reached at the meetings arranged by the European Air Navigation Planning Group on a number of route improvements—including changes to all 10 routes singled out by IATA. The next step will be for the changes to be approved by the European Air Navigation Planning Group in plenary session in June. It will then be a matter for the individual countries concerned to seek the agreement of their appropriate authorities before the new routes can be implemented. It will also be necessary, in due course, for the council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation formally to recognise the new routes by adopting them as operational requirements. The European Air Navigation Planning Group intends to review the air route structure regularly from now on.

Baroness Burton of Coventry

My Lords, is the Minister aware that those of us interested in civil aviation are most grateful for the way in which he has pursued this matter and for the Answer which he has given today? Does he recall that in October last, when this matter was raised, he said that he would continue to press the matter? Going on from there to the many meetings which the noble Lord has outlined, will it be possible, when they are all finished—which presumably will be in the summer—to put down a Question and ask the noble Lord whether he can make a final statement? Finally, does the noble Lord feel that what has been done on these routes will result in the savings estimated in the Question with regard both to fares and to the aviation spirit which is used?

Lord Cockfield

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Baroness for what she says. I should, of course, be only too happy to make a statement setting out the results of the arrangements when they are finally made. On the last part of the question of the noble Baroness, the object of the exercise is, of course, to save costs. I am sure that it will achieve a greater degree of efficiency in the operation of civil air transport in Europe.