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Civil Aviation

Volume 440: debated on Wednesday 23 July 1947

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Corporations' Accounts (Publication)


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when the accounts of B.O.A.C., covering the year ended March, 1947, will be available.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when it is intended to publish the annual accounts of the three air corporations.

The statements of accounts of the three airways corporations for the year ended 31st March, 1947, will be laid as soon as possible after Parliament re-assembles in October.

While I appreciate the difficulties of getting the accounts from overseas, may I ask the Minister to be sure that there is no delay, because of the large sums which may be involved, and because of the public interest in this matter?

Most certainly. There has been active co-operation between the Minister, the chairman of the corporations, and the accountancy sections and auditors of the corporations. We have brought publication of the accounts to within seven months of the end of the financial year, and we are desirous of bringing them as close to it as possible, because that is, in itself, an efficiency test.

In view of the long delay in presenting these accounts, will my hon. Friend consider giving more information in this House in response to questions put to him by Members of this House, pending publication of the accounts?

Aerodrome, Doncaster


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether, as a result of the acquisition by the State of Doncaster airport, he now proposes to construct the necessary runways and other essential works; when he anticipates the plans will be ready or the work of reconstruction will commence; who will use the airport in the meantime; and what facilities will be given to commercial operators or charter companies to develop, in the near future, regular airline services.

I would refer the hon. Member to the statement I made in regard to aerodromes in the United Kingdom on 9th July, in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick), but I may add with regard to Doncaster that preliminary plans for its development, which is a heavy constructional undertaking, have been prepared, though for the reasons given in my earlier statement I am unable to forecast the date of implementation. Meanwhile, the aerodrome is already being used by one aircraft repair and maintenance firm, and will be available within the limits of its capacity and accommodation to other commercial, charter and private flying interests to engage in their legitimate actiivties. A civil operated reserve school will resume flying activities there in the autumn.

Is not the Minister aware that we in the West Riding of Yorkshire, particularly in the City of Sheffield and other towns around Doncaster, attach considerable importance to the development of this airport? Will my hon. Friend give it the same consideration as he gives to Prestwick in Scotland, because the West Riding produces a considerable amount of wealth for Britain, certainly in the export field?

The development of this aerodrome will cost a considerable amount of money and will require a lot of labour and materials, and its development must, in relation to these factors, be in accordance with the national programme.

Prestwick (Transatlantic Service)


asked the Parliamentary Secreary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many Atlantic arrivals and departures to and from Prestwick, by aircraft of the three corporations, took place during June; and how many by other airlines.

In the month of June there were 17 arrivals and 19 departures to and from Prestwick Airport on transatlantic services by the British Overseas Airways Corporation, 41 arrivals and 41 departures by Trans-Canada Airlines and 54 arrivals and 56 departures by foreign airlines.

Does not the Parliamentary Secretary agree that these figures abundantly bear out the contention that if left to themselves to choose between Prestwick, Heathrow and Shannon, a great many foreign companies will, in fact, prefer to use Prestwick?

Yes, as and when it is the most effective route on the Great Circle route.

Do these figures bear out the prognostication that a Labour Government would close Prestwick?

Air-Sea Rescue Equipment


asked the Parliamentary Secertary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation whether all British air-liners operating on the ocean routes carry emergency dinghies, lifebelts and other standard air-sea rescue equipment for passengers and crews.

Gatwick Racecourse


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he will now state when Gatwick racecourse is to be derequisitioned.

Gatwick racecourse is now an essential part of Gatwick Aerodrome which is being extensively used for the testing of transport aircraft under modification on the aerodrome, for air charter work and for the Ministry of Civil Aviation's experimental and communication work. I can, therefore, give no promise that it will be derequisitioned.

The answer means that I can give no promise when it will be derequisitioned. From my information, I think it will be in use for a number of years, for there is no alternative aerodrome within the London area.