8. When he expects to meet the new owners of Stansted Airport. (145057)
I have no immediate plans to meet the new owners of Stansted airport, as the sale has not yet been completed. However, I have no doubt that effective working relationships established between my Department and the airport will continue under its new owners, and I look forward to meeting the management team at an appropriate time in the future.
What assurances can my right hon. Friend give to Manchester Airports Group, which will shortly be taking charge at Stansted, about improved train journey times from Liverpool Street to the airport, over and above the welcome but insufficient addition of the third track between Tottenham Hale and Angel Road?
I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for the acknowledgement that the third track will make a difference to the areas he mentioned. Obviously, we are always willing to discuss with airport operators how best to improve infrastructure connections, and I will be more than happy to do that once the new ownership arrangements are finally in place.
Exclusively on the matter of Stansted airport, Mr Jim Shannon.
I thank the Minister for his response about Stansted airport. Obviously the sale of any airport in the United Kingdom, for example, Belfast international airport alongside Stansted airport, would cause uncertainty to the workers. Will he confirm that the sale of any airport in the United Kingdom, be it Stansted or Belfast international, would be a matter that the Government would look after for the workers?
I fear I was too generous.
Let me address the issue of Stansted airport. I am pleased that the Stansted sale has taken place, as it brings competition into the airport system, and I know that my right hon. Friend the Member for Saffron Walden (Sir Alan Haselhurst) has supported and advocated that for some time. As for the hon. Gentleman’s point about wider airports, obviously every case has to be looked at individually by the proper authorities.