§ Lord Graham of Edmonton
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What exchanges they have had with the Government of Chile over the cancellation of Lan Chile flights to the Falkland Islands. [HL2263]
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean)
Lan Chile has not flown to the Falklands since 31 March, when its contract with the Falkland Islands Development Corporation expired. As my honourable friend the Minister of State made clear in his answer of 25 February to the honourable Member for Chesham and Amersham (Official Report, cols.45I-53), the continuation of that contract after that date was a commercial matter for discussion between Lan Chile and the Falkland Islands Development Corporation. On 19 April my honourable friend reported that the Government of Chile had issued a decree prohibiting Chilean carriers from flying to the Falklands with effect from 10 April.
I have now spoken to the Chilean Foreign Minister. I told him that we strongly disagree with his Government's decree. I underlined that there was no justification for the Chilean Government taking such a measure and have urged Senor Insulza to reconsider it. I reminded him of the commercial and social benefits for remote communities, both in the Falk lands and in 58WA southern Chile, of Lan Chile being allowed to continue flights to the Falklands.
We are in close touch with the Falkland Islands Government on alternative air links.