HC Deb 16 November 1981 vol 13 c9W
27. Mr. Robert Atkins

asked the Secretary of State for Trade how many representations he has received from airlines concerning the current level of air fares.

Mr. Sproat

Fare levels for British airlines are of course primarily a matter for the Civil Aviation Authority. However, my right hon. Friend and I are in frequent touch with British airlines and we discuss fares amongst other subjects. I have not had any direct representations from foreign airlines on this subject in recent months, but when new fares for foreign airlines are filed my officials are as necessary in touch with both the airlines and their governments.

32. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Trade what recent negotiations he has had with his European counterparts with a view to reducing European air fares.

Mr. Sproat

The Government lose no opportunity to impress upon our European colleagues what we see as an urgent need to Introduce more liberal arrangements for setting air fares in Europe. During the course of this year we have pressed this issue at a number of bilateral and multilateral gatherings. In particular, I have recently travelled to Brussels and Rome to visit my counterparts in the Governments of those countries to discuss with them both inter-regional air services and fares, and I plan to make a similar visit to Copenhagen early in December.

Mr. David Atkinson

asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he has taken any initiative to reduce air fares within the European Community.

Mr. Sproat

Yes. It was as a result of an initiative by the United Kingdom that the Commission was asked to report on air fares and have now put a draft directive before the Council of Ministers. On 8 October my right hon. Friend and I held a press conference to make public our reply to the Commission's letter on air fares and competition. We made it clear that we are not satisfied with progress and believe that changes are urgently needed to bring about a more liberal system for approval of fares.