asked the Minister of Aviation if he will publish the statistics available to him regarding the proportion of traffic carried by the British Overseas Airways Corporation-Cunard since it was formed in June, 1962, in comparison with that carried by other airlines operating on the same routes.
May I ask the right hon.. Gentleman whether it is not the case that the B.O.A.C.-Cunard airline has done rather less favourably than its competitors on these routes? Is it not also the case that the B.O.A.C.-Cunard airline has been allowed to operate these routes only by surrendering valuable traffic rights to the Americans? Is my right hon.. Friend still satisfied that the merger has been justified by results so far?
The hon.. Gentleman began by asking whether it was not the fact that the B.O.A.C.-Cunard airline has done less well than its competitors. If it has carried 44 per cent. of the total traffic as against all competitors, I do not think that that is bad. The airline is competing against many foreign operators including those on its South American route, and I do not think that the result is a bad one at all. It looks as though the financial results have been considerably improved, and I think that that is due in no small measure to the co-operation of the two great British transport undertakings involved.
I would not have said so on the figures available to me. I am surprised that the hon.. Gentleman says so, because I thought that the complaint from the party opposite was that the B.O.A.C.-Cunard airline was creaming off the traffic. It has not been quite that way, but I do not think that this doing badly.