The fare structure of the air bridge linking the Falkland Islands with Britain will not be reconsidered according to British officials. Falkland Islands Government (FIG) considers the price of seats as unaffordable.
FIG spokesperson, Mike Summers anticipated the news a week ago when he announced that there had been no progress on the issue of the air bridge fare structure. A day before and too late for consideration by the Falklands' Executive Council, FIG heard from ministers at both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Ministry of Defence, that they would not reconsider the fare structure, which forms part of the new contract. Councillor Summers said: "We are stuck with the position that the current seat selling price for the airbridge to the Falkland Islands Government is £1,498.00." Explaining that FIG had some discretion in how they sold seats on to the public, Councillor Summers said that in order to be able to offer discounts to children or students, they would have to put up the price to other people. Fixing prices was an exercise that would now have to be gone through. Although Mr. Summers said he hoped that recent falls in the global price of petroleum might allow some latitude in a renegotiation of the price of seats quoted by the MOD, Cllr Summers concluded, "It's extremely disappointing that the UK Government did not take on board the degree to which the air bridge is still essential to social and economic development and are basically insisting on a price for seats that I regard as unaffordable." The Ministry of Defense Charter flight flies to the Falklands six times per month from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire and includes a percentage of seats for civilians.(PN)