HC Deb 09 July 2002 vol 388 cc799-800W
John Barrett

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what impact the £7 security surcharge is having on the number of passengers travelling on United Kingdom flights; [68326]

(2) what steps he is taking to ensure money raised from the £7 security surcharge on United Kingdom flights is invested into security at United Kingdom airports; [68321]

(3) what extra security arrangements were required by the Government in UK airports following the events of 11 September 2001; [68610]

(4) what representations he has received calling for the £7 security surcharge on United Kingdom flights to he abolished. [68320]

Mr. Jamieson

The Government have not introduced a security surcharge on United Kingdom flights.

Following the attacks on 11 September, heightened aviation security measures were introduced at all UK airports and for all airlines operating from the UK, and security remains at an enhanced level. We do not discuss the details of our aviation security requirements, although I can say that the UK does have one of the most demanding aviation security regimes in the world.

It has long been central to UK aviation policy that users should pay the full costs of air travel, and this should include the costs of whatever level of security is deemed appropriate in the light of prevailing circumstances. Many United Kingdom and other European carriers have already imposed ticket surcharges to reflect increased insurance and security costs, and this is the pattern which we believe the industry should follow. This is a matter for them and I see no grounds for Government intervention in this area.

Different airlines have been affected differently in the aftermath of 11 September. Some airlines' passenger numbers are still well down on June 2001. On the other hand, no-frills carriers are reporting an increase in passengers. This does not suggest that having to pay additional security costs is having a major impact on people's decision on whether or not to fly.

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