HC Deb 22 February 1968 vol 759 cc173-4W
Mr. Rankin

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will now make a statement on the respective roles of Glasgow and Prestwick airports.

Mr. Crosland

The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have reviewed the roles of Prestwick and Glasgow Airports in the light of proposals for development at Glasgow which are under consideration by Glasgow Corporation. We have taken note of the joint statement, re- cently reaffirmed to us, made by Glasgow Corporation and the British Airports Authority on 9th March, 1967 that they regard the two airports as complementary, the major function of Glasgow Airport being to cater for short and medium haul traffic with Prestwick serving the whole of Scotland as a long-haul intercontinental airport primarily for transatlantic services.

The Government are agreed that this division of traffic between the two airports is a sensible one which will make good use of the investment committed in recent years at both airports and will provide adequate facilities for the rapidly expanding passenger and cargo air services. Some further development at Glasgow will be necessary to consolidate its initial success and to allow it to deal with the rapid growth of traffic and with the new and larger types of aircraft which will come into service on the short and medium haul routes. But the United Kingdom's second international airport at Prestwick, so sited as to make it particularly suitable for handling increasingly heavy long haul traffic, is essential to Scotland's economy, and its ability to expand its transatlantic traffic must remain unimpaired.

The Government think it right, therefore, to reaffirm that they will adhere to the policy of successive Governments that the role of the two airports is complementary, each with the principal function I have described above.

The Government intend to have regard to this policy when exercising their powers in relation to the development of these airports and their use by airlines. No division of functions can, however, be completely rigid and the Government will continue to have regard to the merits of individual cases.

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