Falkland Islands (Transport Links)

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Office – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th February 2009.

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Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central 2:30 pm, 24th February 2009

If he will take steps to improve transport links to the Falkland Islands; and if he will make a statement.

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Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Negotiations between the FCO and the Ministry of Defence on new terms and conditions for improved civilian use of the south Atlantic air bridge are expected to be concluded shortly. The MOD has already provided a premium economy service, increased the frequency of the flights to twice a week, and given the Falkland Islands Government the number of aircraft seats they requested.

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Photo of Eric Illsley Eric Illsley Labour, Barnsley Central

Will my hon. Friend look again at the matter, together with colleagues from the MOD, to ensure that the child concession, which was removed from the air bridge policy, is reinstated so that people from the Falkland Islands can maintain their close links with this country?

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Photo of Gillian Merron Gillian Merron Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Foreign & Commonwealth Office

I understand the point that my hon. Friend makes. It is probably worth saying that the MOD is charging on a full cost recovery basis, which is consistent with Treasury rules, as he will know. The Falkland Islands Government have the flexibility to take their own decisions about fares and discounts that they offer to their passengers. No doubt they will consider that matter further.

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