HC Deb 29 July 1953 vol 518 cc149-50W
58. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether he will make a statement about the future of the passenger service charge.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Yes. The passenger service charge was introduced in May, 1952, as a charge, additional to the landing fee, on airline operators, to help meet the cost of services and facilities for passengers at State airports. It is on the basis of 5s. for each passenger leaving Ministry of Civil Aviation airports for overseas. It was hoped that this additional charge on the operators could be passed on to the travelling public by being absorbed into the fares.

The International Air Transport Association has, however, for a number of reasons not agreed to do this. Most British independent operators were willing to arrange for the charge to be paid by passengers when they buy their tickets; but neither the Corporations and main foreign airlines (who between them, carry most of the passengers using our airports, and whose problems are, admittedly, different from those of the independents) nor the travel agents could arrange this. In consequence, most airlines collect the charge from individual passengers as they leave the town terminal or the airport.

This causes inconvenience of passengers and, after most careful thought, I have decided to withdraw the passenger service charge as such and to raise compensatory revenue by means of increases in landing fees. Adjustments to the landing fees are now being considered in consultation with the interests concerned, and the change will be introduced in the spring of 1954.