asked the Secretary of State for Air whether any complaints have been made to the effect that the facilities as regards terminal aerodromes, landing grounds en route, wireless communication, fog reporting, etc., on the London-Paris route are inadequate; whether any representations have been made to the French Government to improve the wireless facilities on the French side of the London-Paris route or what is the delay in establishing efficient communication; and whether the Air Ministry will consider setting up stations for reporting the width and altitude of fog banks on the route and otherwise dealing with the complaints made against this route?
The answer to the first question is that some vague complaints, especially in regard to the French portion of the route, have been received, but, with two exceptions, none of them has been sufficiently concrete or definite to enable action to be taken on them. The two exceptions related to the defective condition of the surface of Croydon aerodrome; which steps have been taken to remedy, and to delays in wireless communication between Croydon and Paris, mainly traceable to atmospheric disturbances and in a less degree to mistakes by personnel. As regards wireless communication on this route generally, I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to him of the 4th May last. That reply is also pertinent to the second question, the answer to which is in the affirmative. The delays in establishing efficient wireless communication on the French side of the Channel are due to the time necessary to reconstruct their W/T stations, but we are informed that this work is being pressed forward. As regards the last part of the question, experiments are in hand for finding a practical method of determining the vertical extent of fog, and the suggested establishment of new stations for this purpose, additional to the existing rive, namely, three on the 58-mile route from Croydon to the coast, reporting weather conditions every hour during daylight and two reporting the conditions over the Channel, is not considered necessary.
Has the right hon. and gallant Gentleman actually interviewed some of the pilots about these complaints in the first part of the question; and, if not, will he do so?
I will certainly put myself in touch with the companies, and ask them to inform me of what are the view of their pilots.