Rhodesia's Transport Minister, Mr. Roger Hawkins, has claimed Air Rhodesia's acquisition of three Boeing 720?
SV INT Mr. Hawkins giving interview (SILENT LEAD IN)
SCU Mr. Hawkins answers questions
SOUND STARTS WITH reporter's questions: "The overseas press...."
SOUND ENDS: "...about these speculations."
REPORTER: "The overseas press regard this as sanction-busting. Do you regard this as such?"
RHODESIAN TRANSPORT MINISTER ROGER HAWKINS: "I don't agree utterly but this is probably one of the biggest holes that's been knocked in sanctions for a number of years."
REPORTER: "Can you mention the purchase price.....?"
HAWKINS: "I can't answer the purchase price, but it was a very satisfactory price from our point of view."
REPORTER: (INAUDIBEL) -- ask question about routes of new aircraft.
HAWKINS: "Yes....the initial routes will be Salisbury - Jo'burg (not - Johannesburg); Salisbury-Durban. When the runway at Bulawayo is completed - the extension to it -- we shall use some on the ???-Jo'burg flight; and then probably extend to Lourenco Marques and Beira. That's the initial programme."
REPORTER: "Do you hope for international routes?"
HAWKINS: "We do hope to extend into the long haul and we shall certainly be exploring this but we must look at this as a longer-term project...."
REPORTER: "When do they come from.....?"
HAWKINS: "I don't know." (LAUGHTER)
REPORTER: "It's suggested, Sir, that they went Basle, Switzerland, and then came through Lisbon. Have you anything to say about that?"
HAWKINS: "I think there's bound to be all sorts of speculation about this, but I think, gentlemen, that you appreciate I'm not prepared to comment about these speculations."
Initials BB/0120 WLW/PN/BB/0127
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Background: Rhodesia's Transport Minister, Mr. Roger Hawkins, has claimed Air Rhodesia's acquisition of three Boeing 720 jet airliners -- its first jet aircraft -- as 'the biggest hole.....in sanctions for a number of years'. He made the claim at a news conference in Salisbury, the Rhodesian capital, on Tuesday (April 17).
He declined to say where the aircraft originated, although news reports said they came from a West German-based charter airline company that went bankrupt, but he did say they had been obtained at a very satisfactory price.
The aircraft began their journey in Basle, Switzerland, according to Mr. Hawkins and news reports, but the Swiss Government later said it had nothing to do with the deal.