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Clause 18 - Licence conditions

Part of Civil Aviation Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 1:00 pm on 1st March 2012.

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Photo of Jim Fitzpatrick Jim Fitzpatrick Shadow Minister (Transport) 1:00 pm, 1st March 2012

That did cross my mind, and we certainly had a useful exchange on that during the evidence sessions, when we asked Passenger Focus whether it thought it should cover air passengers. There does seem to be a degree of logic in that, given that Passenger Focus covers passengers on other modes of transport. It would seem to have the expertise, experience and professionalism to take on board another mode of transport, which means we would not have to create a whole new dimension. We might come back to that later, but it is certainly a valid question.

There are three elements to the amendments, which cover all the 13 points of contact. On UKBA, we have all heard airlines, airports or constituents complain about delays at immigration, which are sometimes seen to be routine and a matter of course. We have heard that staff numbers are being reduced—perhaps by up to 6,500, with 5,000 coming from UKBA and 1,500 from the UK Border Force. It would be interesting to hear from the Minister what contacts she has had with Home Office colleagues. She referred to such contacts on the Floor of the House, but it would be useful to have an update. I know she is keen to ensure the best possible service for the aviation sector from UKBA, and it would be interesting to hear how her colleagues in the Home Office are responding to her approaches. We will deal with the security clauses in the Bill later, but there is a clear tension between trying to cut costs and to be efficient, and maintaining the front line of our defences and our security at airports, which requires staff members to be in post.