Domestic Air Routes

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has to promote greater competition on domestic air routes.

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

None, Sir. The hon. Member will be aware that the Edwards Committee is now looking into questions of this kind. The House will not expect me to anticipate the Committee's recommendations.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a free enterprise company, British Eagle, wished to undercut other companies in this field and was prevented from doing so by the Air Transport Licensing Board? Does it not make nonsense of the supposed prices and incomes policy that a free enterprise company which wishes to undercut should be prevented from doing so by a public authority?

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

The whole question of the operations of the Air Transport Licensing Board is being reviewed by the Edwards Committee. The question of the effectiveness or desirability of competition comes into that. It is a two-sided issue.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Since there is a considerable subsidy on most domestic routes operated by B.E.A., is it not time that the subsidy was identified and the independents given an opportunity to operate on the same terms?

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

I do not recognise that there is a subsidy for B.E.A. I wish that I could say that these domestic lines were generally profitable. They are not.