London Airport (Bad Weather Alternate)
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he can now make a statement about the development of a bad weather alternate to London Airport.
I presume the Question refers to the proposed development of Gatwick Airport as a bad weather alternate and as a base for some other air transport activities. I hope to be able to make a statement about this in the near future.
Does the hon. Gentleman recall that six months ago he said he was going to work fast in this and other matters? Can he say how near is the "near future"?
The hon. Member knows very well some of the difficult problems connected with this matter, which is being pressed on as fast as possible.
Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that the important thing is to make London Airport an all-weather airport?
Will the hon. Gentleman also keep before him the claims of Prestwick as a Transatlantic air terminal?
As the hon. Member knows, so far as is possible, a good deal is being done there.
Is my hon. Friend aware that there is considerable apprehension with regard to the Gatwick proposal amongst the inhabitants of the new town of Crawley? Can my hon. Friend give an assurance that he will proceed slowly in order to avoid any unnecessary inconvenience and annoyance to people in that very important new town?
No, Sir, I could not give an assurance to proceed slowly. I will give an assurance that I will proceed with great care. My hon. Friend has brought the question of noise to my attention on several occasions.
Aircraft Insurance (Rome Meeting)
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation has announced the date of a meeting to complete the new convention on compulsory insurance of aircraft.
Yes, Sir. The meeting to complete the Convention on Damage caused by Foreign Aircraft to Third Parties on the Surface will open in Rome on 9th September.
Independent Operators (Aerodrome Facilities)
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether he will give an assurance that the facilities at Blackbushe Aerodrome are adequate for their regular use by Hermes aircraft.
The runways at Blackbushe are adequate for regular use by Hermes aircraft and the airport is equipped with suitable navigational aids. The passenger accommodation is being extended to deal with expected increases in traffic.
As long as the passenger-handling facilities are inadequate, will my hon. Friend consider allowing London Airport to be used for these aircraft.
I think the answer to that is covered by the hon. Member's next Question.
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether he will implement Section 16, subsection 3, of the Civil Aviation Act, 1949, and allow Hermes aircraft operated by independent operators on scheduled operations to use London Airport until such time as an alternative airport with adequate facilities is available.
Section 16 (3) of the Civil Aviation Act, 1949, deals with the facilities to be provided for charter and not scheduled services.As regards the second part of the Question, I will certainly consider any requests made by independent operators of scheduled services although, with the introduction of tourist travel, the facilities at London Airport are likely to be used to capacity in the future.
Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that specific pledges were given at the time of the passing of the Act of 1949, and that the previous two Governments have tried to wriggle out of those pledges.
I am examining these points very carefully.
Aerodrome, West Hartlepool
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether, in view of the fact that Boldon airport is no longer available for immediate use as an international airport and the fact that West Hartlepool airport is the only available airport to serve Tees-side, he will take steps to see that this airport is given all possible facilities, particularly designation and advertisement in the "Air Pilot," as an airport where Customs facilities are available on demand.
I regret that, in the absence of evidence of substantial overseas air traffic from West Hartlepool, I cannot agree to the designation of the aerodrome, but special arrangements have been made for the Customs clearance at West Hartlepool of the two regular international services expected to use it in 1952. The facilities at present available at West Hartlepool aerodrome are already recorded in the "Air Pilot."
Low Flying Aircraft, London
asked the Minister of Civil Aviation what circumstances have led to the recent marked increase in the number of large aircraft flying over the centre of London at low altitude, even at times when the wind was not along the east-west runway at Heath Row; and what is the identity and purpose of the De Havilland Rapide aircraft that frequently circles Westminster at about 1,000 feet.
I am unable to confirm the statements on which the Question is based. Generally speaking, there are fewer aircraft flying over the centre of London when the wind is in the east. If my hon. Friend cares to give me further information I shall be glad to investigate the matter.
Is my hon. Friend aware that this morning at 9.45 a Viking crossed over this House at about 2,000 feet going south-easterly, another one at 9.55, another one at 10.15, a D.C.6 at 10.25, a Viking at 10.40 going south-west and another Viking going south-east at 11 o'clock? If these were over Westminster, is not this the longest possible transit of London, for it entails about 40 miles of flying over built-up areas, and is not every one of these transits adding to the risk of another accident like the ones New York has had?
My hon. Friend's very interesting observations will certainly be noted with care and will be examined.
Bea Internal Services
The following Question stood upon the Order Paper:
59. MR. JOHN RANKIN,—To ask the Minister of Civil Aviation why he proposes to return British European Airways internal services to private enterprise, in view of the fact that the services are now being successfully operated.
At the end of Questions—
In view of the Prime Minister's statement this afternoon about the nationalised industries, and in view of the nature of my Question, which deals with much the same subject, could I ask permission from you, Mr. Speaker, to get the Minister to give a reply to my Question?
No, I am afraid not. I have not been asked by the Minister to facilitate him to give an answer.