HC Deb 08 May 1989 vol 152 cc342-3W
Mr. Allan Stewart

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he has considered the implications for his policy on air transport of the judgment by the Court of Session in the case brought by Air 2000; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Channon

[pursuant to the reply, 2 May, 1989 column 119]: I am making new traffic distribution rules for Scotland, taking proper account of the written judgment of the Court of Session, to ensure that effect continues to be given to the Government's Scottish lowland airports policy, as set out in the 1985 White Paper (Cmnd. 9542).

The White Paper said that this policy, under which Prestwick is designated as the gateway for long-haul flights, would be reviewed if by 1989 there had not been a steady improvement in Prestwick's financial results. Earlier this year, the chairman of BAA plc requested an immediate review on general grounds.

Though Prestwick's financial position has in fact enjoyed a steady improvement, I have nevertheless considered the BAA request and have consulted my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. I have concluded that a review of current policy would not be appropriate.

The Government are, however, conscious of the belief that Prestwick would be better able to play its part in meeting demand for air transport in Scotland if it enjoyed better surface access. My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland is making a separate statement about this.