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North Atlantic Scheduled Air Services

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 13th March 1968.

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Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry 12:00 am, 13th March 1968

asked the President of the Board of Trade what proposals he has to facilitate competition between British airline operators for North Atlantic scheduled services.

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

Six applications by independent airlines for North Atlantic scheduled services are now before the Air Transport Licensing Board. It would be wrong for me to offer any comment at this stage.

Photo of Mr John Biffen Mr John Biffen , Oswestry

I appreciate the reluctance of the hon. Gentleman to offer any comment. Would not he agree that it would be a long overdue gesture to competition if the dominance of B.O.A.C. on this service were diminished to some extent?

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

The reluctance to which the hon. Gentleman referred is solely due to the fact that I might be involved in a judicial capacity at a later stage. Whether or not competition is really desirable on this route is one of the matters the Edwards Inquiry is going into.

Photo of Mr John Cronin Mr John Cronin , Loughborough

Does my hon. Friend agree that increased competition between British airline operators on the Atlantic would cause nothing but rejoicing to our foreign competitors, and that the most appropriate action would be to induce the International Air Travel Association to lower transatlantic fares so that there would not be an artificial subsidy of less efficient foreign airlines?

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

There is a great deal of point in what my hon. Friend said.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Does the Minister recall that while British Eagle was operating on the North Atlantic route there was a rising British share of this traffic, and that the decrease dates from the time when British Eagle ceased to operate on it?

Photo of Mr Joseph Mallalieu Mr Joseph Mallalieu , Huddersfield East

I doubt very much whether it was a case of cause and effect.