Cambrian Airways Limited

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd April 1958.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge 12:00 am, 2nd April 1958

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation to what extent he agreed to the share-holding which British European Airways has taken in Cambrian Airways; what proportion this represents of the capital of the Cambrian Company; and if he will state the number of directors which he will nominate on the board of the company.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

B.E.A. has recently acquired 33 per cent. of the capital of Cambrian Airways Limited. Lord Douglas informed me of this proposal, which I support. Although I have no powers to appoint any directors to the Board of Cambrian Airways, B.E.A. has appointed two directors.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Since the name of Mr. Kenneth Davies has been mentioned in a recent debate on this matter in relation to his position both on the board of B.E.A. and the Cambrian Company, is the Minister aware that those of us who know the services of Mr. Davies to aviation know the invaluable work that he has done on the Board of B.E.A. without any fee or salary and the air services that he has provided for Wales with considerable financial loss to himself? Does the Minister not think, however, that this is something of a precedent for B.E.A. and that we ought to know rather more about the details of this transaction? Also, is he satisfied that the public interest is covered?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he has said about Mr. Kenneth Davies, because as he knows and as I know his financial interest in this matter has probably cost him a good deal of money. There is no question of gain so far as he is concerned. As regards the second part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I was fully consulted by Lord Douglas, who is Chairman of B.E.A., on this acquisition, which was beneficial both to Wales and B.E.A. It was on that basis that I said in my Answer that I was fully satisfied.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Would the Minister agree that the more the Corporations get together with the independent operators and enlarge British civil aviation, the better it will be for the country?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Yes, I quite agree.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

May I press the Minister on this matter? Although there is a 33 per cent. public shareholding, only one director has been appointed, and he has no direct responsibility at all. Does the Minister think that the public interest is safeguarded in this matter in view of the fact that public money is being provided?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Yes, I do, and I have said so.