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Laker Airways Skytrain

Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade what progress he has made in bringing the United States of America to accept Skytrain services as part of the Bermuda Agreement.

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.

Has there yet been any indication that an application for a licence will be made by an American counterpart of the Laker Skytrain?

Not yet. But obviously, if the United States Government indicate to us a wish to discuss that matter, we shall ourselves be ready to discuss it with them.