On 18th February our Embassy in Washington formally asked the United States Government to issue an operating permit to Laker, in accordance with the Bermuda Agreement. However, as I informed the House on 14th February 1977, I envisage negotiating a special arrangement with the United States to cover the operation of Sky-train instead of including it in the new Air Services Agreement.
Does the right hon. Gentleman accept the view held in some quarters that the apparent lethargy by his Department springs in part from its recent defeat by Mr. Laker?
The hon. Gentleman's accusation is unjustified. I made an announcement in the House on 14th February. On 18th February we made representations to the American Government asking them to issue a permit so that the Laker Skytrain could operate. The CAB has now asked Mr. Laker for further information. It is our wish to get the Laker Skytrain into the United States, and we shall exert all necessary pressure to that end.