asked the Minister for Transport and Power if his attention has been drawn to a recent report that the air companies would have difficulty in financing their capital programme; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Air Companies' Capital Programme.
The capital programme of the air companies over the five years 1968-69 to 1972-73 is estimated to cost £71.5 million. The policy embodied in the Air Companies Act, 1966 in regard to the future capital expenditure of the air companies was that they should thenceforth be financially self-supporting and independent of the Exchequer raising any necessary future capital requirements either direct from their own resources or by borrowings serviced from their own resources.
The capital programme over the next five years entails expenditure of quite a new order of magnitude. This arises because the companies must re-equip on an unprecedented scale. The necessary additions to their fleet include two Boeing 747 jets, two Boeing 320's and eight Boeing 737's. Of the total sum of £71.5 million the companies will be able to provide £29 million approximately from their own internal resources. The companies must look to other sources for the remainder of the capital required. The companies are confident of being able to borrow the balance required but it will of course be necessary to be satisfied that the companies can bear the cost of servicing loan capital of this magniture. This is a matter which is under examination by my Department and the Department of Finance.