HC Deb 24 July 1986 vol 102 cc458-9W
Dame Jill Knight

asked the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to implement the Airports Act 1986.

Mr. Moore

On 15 July, I approved proposals and a scheme under section 1 of the Act providing for the reorganisation of the British Airport Authority's undertaking into separate airport companies on 31 July. On the same day I made two orders which bring into force certain sections of the Act on 31 July and 1 August and which provide for the dissolution of the BAA and the vesting of its undertaking on 1 August in BAA plc. From 1 August, therefore, the whole of parts I and V of the Act (and certain related sections) will be in force.

I propose to make two further orders shortly, to designate the BAA's seven airports — following their transfer to subsidiary companies—under section 88 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982 (detention and sale of aircraft) and under section 35 of that Act (facilities for consultation). This will provide for continuity of powers to detain and sell aircraft in default of payment of airport charges and of the duty to provide adequate facilities for consultation with interested parties on matters concerning the management or administration of their airports.

On 8 September, two months after Royal Assent, parts II and III and other provisions, such as exemption from Sunday trading restrictions for certain airports, will come into force, as provided for in section 85(4) of the Act. Once these parts of the Act are in force, I intend to use my powers under sections 13 and 15 to direct local authorities to form airport companies and to submit schemes for the transfer of property, rights and liabilities to those companies. In addition, as was said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Neale) on 21 July, I intend to use my powers under section 31 to promulgate traffic distribution rules for the London airports system and to confirm the current rules for the Scottish Lowland airports system.

I hope to make an order bringing the remaining parts of the Act into force on 1 October. This will, amongst other things, set in place the scheme of economic regulation which requires all airports with a turnover above £ 1 million in two of the last three years to apply to the CAA for a permission to levy airport charges. Three related orders will also be made: an order under section 7 of the Civil Aviation Act 1982, dealing with procedural regulations governing the exercise of the Civil Aviation Authority's functions under parts III and IV of the Airports Act; an order under section 40 of the Airports Act designated Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester international airports for the purposes of economic regulation, which will require mandatory conditions to be imposed on those airports setting a maximum limit on airport charges and requiring accounting transparency; and an order under section 47 making regulations for charges to be payable by airport operators in respect of expenses incurred by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission in performing their functions under the Act.

Soon after 1 October, I propose to notify the CAA under section 53(1) that I intend to perform certain of the CAA's functions relating to the grant of permissions to and imposition of conditions on the seven BAA airport companies. I will give details of these permissions and the conditions to which they are subject nearer to the time of flotation.