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Sicily And Malta

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1947

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asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, whether it is intended to use either Castel Benito or an aerodrome in Sicily instead of Luqa aerodrome in Malta; and what additional work is required to extend Luqa airfield in order to make it safe for new types of aircraft.

My noble Friend has already received reports which suggest that Luqa aerodrome in Malta may be unsuitable for continuous use by four-engined aircraft. These reports are under urgent examination by my noble Friend, in conjunction with my right hon. Friends the Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Secretary of State for Air. As to the second part of the Question, it would be premature to give a definite reply about the additional work required at Luqa, until the results of the examination are known. Meanwhile, it is probable that British Overseas Airways Corporation services will be re-routed, at least temporarily, to Castel Benito.

Would the hon. Gentleman give a guarantee that so far as possible British money and materials will be spent in the Colonies or Dominions? In a case like this, where the Air Ministry and other Departments are concerned, can the hon. Gentleman say which is the coordinating Department?

My noble Friend takes the initiative in the operation of air services and has the active co-operation of the Secretary of State for the Colonies. In the case of a joint-user aerodrome, such as this, he has the co-operation of the Secretary of State for Air. It is the policy of my Department, wherever possible, to see that aerodromes are established on British territory.