§ Lord James Douglas-Hamilton
asked the Minister for Trade if he will make a statement on his programme for privatising the Civil Aviation Authority's aerodromes in Scotland; whether any local authorities have shown interest in acquiring a part interest in any aerodromes; and whether he would be prepared to consider offers for the whole or part interest in any aerodrome from an airline.
§ Mr. Sproat
[pursuant to the reply, 9 May 1983, c. 195]: Following the announcement, on 28 March 1983, in a parliamentary answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Fife, East (Mr. Henderson) that the Government intended to privatise the Civil Aviation Authority's aerodromes in Scotland, the Authority's chairman and I have been approached by a number of persons and groups who are interested in considering acquiring one or more of these aerodromes. I have made it clear that the Government and the CAA would be willing to consider offers that included local authority participation. Mr. Dent would certainly be prepared to consider any offer by an airline to acquire one or more of the aerodromes. I regard it as essential that, on privatising these aerodromes, the interests of the local communities are properly safeguarded. The Government decided to offer these aerodromes to the private sector, with or without local authority participation, because it believes that commercial organisations should be able to run them more cost-effectively, and this would be of benefit to the taxpayer, since all but one of these aerodromes are in receipt of a subsidy from the Scottish Office; the airlines, because a more cost-efficient operation could mean lower landing charges; and the passenger, because fares, following lower costs on the airlines could come down. All those persons or groups interested in acquiring Tiree, Islay, Wick, Sumburgh, 410W Inverness, Stornoway, Benbecula and Kirkwall—or any one of them, or a combination of them—should get in touch with Mr. John Dent, chairman of the CAA at CAA House, 45-49 Kingsway, London WC2B 6TE.