Empty Seats

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th November 1946.

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Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham 12:00 am, 27th November 1946

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what proportion of the empty seats in aircraft leaving this country during the last six months have been booked by the Government and private persons, respectively; and in how many cases under each category a deposit of part of the passage money was forfeited.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

I am afraid that the necessary information is not available in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, and to obtain it from the corporations in the time available would involve dislocation of their current business. I am asking the corporations to obtain the information as soon as they can conveniently do so, and I will then forward it to the hon. Member.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Does not the Minister think that the number of empty seats in outgoing aircraft—taking the figures which he gave last week—is a public scandal? Will he answer the second part of my Question and say whether he uses the deterrent of a forfeited deposit to persuade people to give adequate notice of cancellation of their bookings?

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

There is a forfeit where adequate notice of cancellation is not given.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

The forfeit varies on a sliding scale according to the time in which the cancellation is made.

Photo of Sir Edward Keeling Sir Edward Keeling , Twickenham

Does it apply to Government Departments?

Lieut.-Commander Gurney Braith-waite:

In that event, will the Minister use his good offices to impress upon Government Departments the importance of notifying these cancellations at the earliest possible moment—[An HON. MEMBER: "Fine them."]—thereby giving a fair opportunity to other sections of the community, not forgetting the members of friendly societies?

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

Government Departments are urged to make cancellations at the earliest possible date, if the aircraft is not going to be used. The seats are then available to the corporation—[Interruption]—perhaps the hon. and gallant Gentleman is not interested in the reply to the question he has asked—for sale to the public. In most cases such seats as are not taken are disposed of by private sale.

Photo of Mr Frederick Erroll Mr Frederick Erroll , Altrincham and Sale

Why could not Government Departments be fined, like individuals?

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

That is an entirely different question. It is a matter for discussion.