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Boac Atlantic Services (Base)

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 16 July 1947

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7.

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, in view of the operational facilities available in this country for U.S. aircraft, which are equal to, if not greater than, those in European countries already operating such aircraft successfully, if he will now consider issuing a direction to B.O.A.C., in accordance with his statutory powers and in the national interest and to save dollars, to transfer its operational base for the Atlantic services from Montreal to England.

No, Sir. The desirability of transferring this base to the United Kingdom at the earliest possible date is, however, fully appreciated, and I can assure the hon. Member that this question is receiving very close attention, in consultation with the corporation.

Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that R.A.F. "C" type hangars are perfectly capable of accommodating Constellation aircraft? Can there not be co-operation between the Parliamentary Secretary and the Secretary of State for Air, to ensure that a suitable aerodrome is made available immediately? Further, is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the real cause of the present disinclination of B.O.A.C. to move the base to England is that senior staff whose opinions are asked do not wish to give up their luxurious living in Montreal at the present time?

Perhaps I might deal with the second part of the supplementary question first. It contains an unfair imputation upon the staff concerned, and so far as I have been able to ascertain there is no evidence to support it. So far as the first part of the supplementary question is concerned, there is a very close co-operation between the Secretary of State for Air and my noble Friend. The hon. Member was good enough to suggest one aerodrome where these operations might take place. Consultations took place and the Air Force were prepared to make arrangements. It is equally true that if a large number of workmen are concerned they must have housing accommodation. In the case of the Kemble aerodrome, there was no housing accommodation for the workmen.