To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on chartering transport aircraft in each month since October 2001; and if he will make a statement. 
The amounts in cash terms actually paid against submitted invoices for the period October 2001 to March 2003, are as follows:
These figures are provisional and subject to final audit.
The Ministry of Defence does not necessarily pay the charter fees in the same month as the activity takes place and a direct correlation cannot therefore be drawn month by month between aircraft chartered and costs paid. Neither is there necessarily a particular significance between the fluctuating amounts committed or paid each month.
Commercial aircraft are chartered by the MOD when required to supplement the strategic aircraft resources of the RAF, particularly when the timescale and size of arising operations overseas necessitate the rapid deployment of equipment in support of United Kingdom expeditionary Forces.