Yes, Sir. I am glad to say that an Exchange of Notes, bringing into effect the Air Services Agreement between this country and the U.S.S.R., was signed in Moscow yesterday. I am hopeful that services will be able to start early this summer.
The TU 104 aircraft which the Soviet airline intends to use will, in accordance with the terms of the Agreement, employ operating techniques and procedures designed to minimise the disturbance caused by noise to residents near London Airport, including the use of only one runway for take-off. The operations of the TU 104 into London Airport will be reviewed as soon as sufficient experience has been gained to enable us to judge whether the initial conditions of operation should be varied.
While thanking my right hon. Friend for that information, which I am sure will be very gladly received, may I ask him whether the agreement means that B.E.A. will be operating at the same time? May I also congratulate my right hon. Friend on establishing this new commercial link with Russia which, surely, can do nothing but further trade relationships, and help to remove the differences and difficulties, which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is so valiantly struggling to do?
This will be a full reciprocal service, and, of course, that means that B.E.A. will be running a counterpart service to Moscow. As to the second half of my hon. and gallant Friend's question, I have to be satisfied that these new jet aircraft do not create conditions which are intolerable for people living round the airport. I am very grateful to Aeroflot for meeting, as far as it is humanly possible for them to do, our rather strict requirements.