Skip to main content

Civil Aviation

Volume 439: debated on Wednesday 9 July 1947

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Brabazon Committee (Reports)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what steps he proposes to take to publish the reports of the Brabazon Committee since it was set up on 23rd December, 1942.

It is not proposed to publish the reports of the Brabazon Committee, the outcome of whose recommendations has been made known from time to time in Parliament.

Since the Brabazon Committee is an official Committee and has, presumably, involved a certain amount of public expense, and in view of the serious position in regard to the development and construction of new civil aircraft designs, is it not appropriate that we should have the details of the matters with, which this Committee has dealt?

The reports are confidential and publication of some of the information would not be to the national advantage. But such information as is available is made known to the House from time to time by the Department.

Operational Statistics (Publication)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, when he anticipates being able to publish, with complete detail, full statistics of operations for the three civil aviation corporations and charter airlines, similar to those which are published monthly by the Civil Aeronautics Administration in the U.S.A.

The necessary preparatory work is proceeding for the monthly publication of detailed civil air transport statistics, but I regret that I am not at present in a position to give a definite date when publication will commence.

Will my hon. Friend see that when the details are published they will give the fullest information, not only about the operations of the civil airways corporations, but the operations of the charter companies, to ensure that they do not exceed the sphere of their activities, as limited by the Civil Aviation Act?

My hon. Friend will know that P.I.C.A.O. is dealing with the general question of fares and statistics. I can assure him that we shall honour P.I.C.A.O. recommendations to the full, but charter statistics are not so easy to obtain.

Is the hon. Gentleman getting all the information he wants from the charter companies? Are they being co-operative?

They are being most co-operative but, naturally, they do not want to disclose to competitors figures which might be likely to embarrass them in their trading undertakings.

Prestwick Airport


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many Atlantic arrivals and departures, to and from Prestwick, took place during the month of June by British and foreign airlines.

In the month of June, there were 58 arrivals and 60 departures to and from Prestwick Airport on Transatlantic services by British airlines; there were 54 arrivals and 56 departures by foreign airlines.

Can the hon. Gentleman say the number of passengers carried in each plane?

I cannot at the moment. Perhaps the hon. Member will put a Question on the Paper.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, when work on the third runway for Prestwick may be expected to start.

No target date for starting work on a third runway additional to the two provided by the Government during the war, and now in use for Trans-Atlantic and other services, can be given at present. Various alternative schemes have been examined from a technical and engineering standpoint, but additional information on a number of points is still awaited. Any practicable scheme seems likely to be costly, both in labour and expense. This factor must affect the timing of the work, although my noble Friend is concerned to ensure that its execution shall be in phase with the probable needs for such a development of the aerodrome.

Will the hon. Gentleman press this matter, as local authorities' housing schemes and many other desirable improvements are being held up by indecision on this important question?

Yes, Sir. The matter is now being discussed by the Minister and the Secretary of State for Scotland.

Can the hon. Gentleman say when Scottish-built aeroplanes will use these runways?

Departmental Committees (Membership)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation in connection with the various committees on civil aviation set up in the Ministry, on what grounds is a distinction made between a Departmental or inter-Departmental committee, the names of the members of which he declines to publish, and an advisory or co-ordinating or technical committee whose members' names he does customarily publish.

The 'reason for this distinction is the well recognised usage of preserving the anonymity of individual civil servants as far as possible

Could my hon. Friend say whether, in the case of the Self Committee, there are members who are not civil servants, and whether it will be possible to publish their names?

Yes, Sir, but in a Committee such as the Self Committee, in which there is joint representation, it would still be undesirable. Ministers are responsible for policy, and it is preferable that controversy should range round the Minister rather than civil servants, who are advisers of the Minister

Maintenance Services (Spare Parts)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what steps are being taken to ensure that an adequate service of spare parts is readily available for the maintenance of civil aircraft so that unnecessary delays of several days, such as that caused to B.E.A.C. aircraft scheduled to leave Athens on Saturday, 10th May, but delayed until Friday, 16th May, and the consequent inconvenience caused to passengers, will in future be avoided.

The maintenance of their aircraft is a matter for the management of the three statutory British Airways Corporations and they, like other operators, place their orders for spares direct with the manufacturers.

Is it not the responsibility of the Minister to see that the service of spare parts to this Corporation is satisfactory? Is he aware that it took nearly a week for the small spare part to reach Athens from England? Is not that disgraceful?

When we are appealed to by either the Corporation, or the charter companies, we give every assistance. This case concerned a Dakota aircraft, for which spares are often secured only by "cannibalisation." The general position in regard to spares for Dakota aircraft is very difficult.

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that the spare part in this case was available in Britain, and that it took nearly a week to get to Athens, when aircraft were flying there every day?

Will the hon. Gentleman consult the Ministry of Supply, and review the whole question of spares for aeroplanes and tool kits? Is he aware that new British aircraft are not supplied with tool kits when going abroad?

That matter is being discussed by the Minister and the Ministry of Supply.

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the arbitrary limit, in terms of dollars, for spare parts for Dakotas still exists?

The limit still exists, but the trouble is the actual availability of spares for an obsolete type of aircraft.

Director Of Amenities


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what are the duties and salary of the Director of Amenities; and what staff assist him in his work.

The Director of Amenities is responsible at the Ministry of Civil Aviation for the development and improvement of existing amenities and for the introduction of further revenue producing concessions and facilities at State-owned aerodromes in the United Kingdom. His salary is £1,320 a year. His staff will not be settled pending completion of his initial survey of the problem. It will, in any event, be small.

Airfields (State Acquisition)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether he is now in a position to state what airfields in the United Kingdom are to be acquired by the State for civil aviation.

A preliminary list of these airfields has now been prepared and I will, with permission, circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say for how long this country is to be without an international marine airport conforming to modern standards?

When the report is circulated will it be possible for the Parliamentary Secretary to indicate what the development is likely to be, and whether these airports to be taken over will become derelict by reason of non-activity, which seems to be forecast in official circles?

No, Sir. No actual date can be given. Much depends on the availability of labour and materials, but no airport will be allowed to become dere- lict pending the bringing into operation of fuel services.

Will the Parliamentary Secretary in his report show which aerodromes have been paid for by the Government when they acquire them?

This is an intention to acquire. Some have already been acquired; others come under an intention to acquire.

Following is the statement:

In the White Paper on British Air Ser vices published in December, 1945, it was announced that the State would own and operate the aerodromes used by regular air transport services. The selection of suitable sites for these aerodromes is and will continue to be a long and difficult task. It has been and is being undertaken in close consultation with British European Airways with the object of providing for the country a planned network of air services designed to serve the nation's needs.

A preliminary list of aerodromes outside the London area, which area needs to be considered separately and to which this note does not therefore refer, has now been prepared as set out below, together with the names of the main towns which each aerodrome is intended to serve. Many of the aerodromes will be used on a joint basis with the Service Departments and aircraft manufacturers. Much work has to be done to many of these aerodromes before they can be ready for the operation of regular air services and, in addition, it will, of course, be necessary, where this has not already been done, to extend to them the network of radio and air traffic control services.

The object is to provide safe and regular services and not to rush aerodromes and aircraft into ill-prepared use. Services, when they are introduced, must be dependable and, generally speaking, those which fill a social or commercial need that other forms of transport do not satisfy, must be introduced first. Bearing these facts in mind, together with the shortages of manpower and materials, particularly for building purposes, it would be unwise to attempt to indicate a date by which the whole of these aerodromes will have been brought into use, but the work will be pressed ahead on a properly integrated plan.

AberdeenDyceAlready in use by regular services.
AngleseyValleyDiversionary airport.
BelfastNutts CornerAlready in use by regular services.
BenbeculaBenbeculaAlready in use by regular services.
BlackpoolSquires GateAlready in use by regular services.
Brighton, Hove and Worthing.Shoreham
BristolLulsgate BottomWhitchurch will continue to be available at any rate for a time.
Cardiff(1) Pengam MoorsPengam Moors will continue to be used tor the ferry services across the Bristol Channel.
(2) Llandow
CampbeltownMachrihanishAlready in use by regular services.
CarlisleGreat OrtonCrosby is being used temporarily by regular services.
EdinburghTurnhouseAlready in use by regular services
Glasgow and ClydesideRenfrewAlready in use by regular services.
InvernessDalcrossLongman aerodrome is being used at present by regular services but transfer to Dalcross will be made as soon as practicable.
Isle of WightRyde
IslayPort EllenAlready in use by regular services.
KirkwallHatstonAlready in use by regular services.
Leeds and BradfordYeadonSubject to further technical investigation showing that the aerodrome can be improved to the necessary standard.
LiverpoolSpekeAlready in use by regular services.
ManchesterRingwayAlready in use by regular services.
Newcastle and North- East England.New siteCroft is intended for temporary use pending the development of a new site. The site provisionally selected is at Boldon south of the projected Tyne Tunnel. It lies however on coal-bearing land and further technical investigation is necessary before the selection of the site can be confirmed
North UistSollas
OrkneysSee below.
PenzanceCuldroseSt. Just aerodrome is now in use by regular services and will continue to be so used until a transfer to Culdrose is possible.
PlymouthHarrowbeerThe permanent use of the aerodrome is subject to Parliamentary approval in view of Commoner'" rights.
PrestwickPrestwickAlready in use lor regular services.
Scilly IslesSt. Mary'sAlready in use for regular services.
Sheffield and DoncasterDoncaster
ShetlandsSumburghAlready in use for regular services.
SouthamptonEastleighAlready in use for regular services.
StornowayStornowayAlready in use for regular services.
SwanseaFairwood Common
TireeTireeAlready in use for regular services.
Weston-super-MareWestonAlready in use for regular services.
WickWickAlready in use for regular services.

The provision of air services to additional places, as, for example, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, including the Orkneys inter-island services, is contemplated, but detailed surveys of the sites provisionally selected are necessary before their suitability can be determined. Some of the landing grounds used before the war are much too small for medium-type aircraft, which will provide a faster and more efficient service, and the best means of serving these places requires further examination.

The introduction of air services direct from certain aerodromes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to the Continent is intended as aircraft become available and the aerodromes can be suitably improved and equipped. Additional sites will be announced from time to time as their acquisition becomes necessary for further expansion of air services.

North-West England


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when he expects that a regular air service between London and Carlisle, or some other centre in North-West England, will be established.

A review is now being made by the British European Airways Corporation for air services to be put into operation after the financial year 1947–48, and until this is complete it is not possible to make a statement.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that while there is an elaborate service running between London and Scotland there is no service between London and the North-West of England? Could he arrange for one of the Scottish aircraft to stop at Carlisle or some other convenient place between now and the time when he may be able to effect an improvement?

Is it the intention of the Government to use the airport at Crosby for future air services, and what do they intend to do with the aerodrome at Great Orton, and Kingstown Aerodrome, which belongs to the Carlisle Corporation?

Is the Parliamentary Secretary now aware that there is still no service to the West of England and Cornwall?

Is my hon. Friend aware that an advertisement of B.E.A.C., published in the last few days, contained a map purporting to show present services, and that these included a stop at Carlisle?

Hungary (Political Situation)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has received any further communication regarding recent events in Hungary, either from the Government of the U.S.S.R. or from the Hungarian Government.

No, Sir. I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave on 25th June to the Question by my hon. Friend the Member for King's Norton (Mr. Blackburn).

Since the publication of the Hungarian White Paper, which I have now had an opportunity of reading, contains various allegations in regard to British organisations and persons, will the Foreign Secretary consider submitting the whole matter to an international body, or at least issuing some detailed statement in regard to these imputations?

Italy (Passport Visas)


asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that, at the Italian Consulate-General in London, British applicants are required to complete an elaborate form in quintuplicate, supply four photographs and pay £15s. for each visa for a short visit to Italy; that usually they have to queue standing for two hours; and if he will make an immediate protest.

As stated in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Aberdeen and Kincardine (Mr. Spence) on 27th February last, His Majesty's Government do not feel able to make official representations to the Italian Government regarding the elaborate formalities for obtaining Italian visas. Representations have recently been made, but without success, to the Italian Government about the fee of 25s. payable for Italian visas, and in accordance with the usual practice in such circumstances the fee payable by Italian nationals for British visas has been correspondingly raised to 25s.

I cannot overcome queueing where visas are concerned. My policy is to abolish these visas altogether. When the Treaty is ratified and one can deal with it, I shall certainly be very pleased to abolish visas in the case of Italy.

Would the right hon. Gentleman request the Italian Government at least to provide accommodation, so that these people can sit down instead of having to stand up for two hours?

I do not think that anything I can do with regard to these visas would do away with the waiting and formalities which have to be overcome. The only way to get over the problem is to abolish them. In this country, I have abolished visas for a number of countries. The system I introduced of getting passports at the Ministry of Labour offices has reduced all the trouble so far as Great Britain is concerned.