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Internal Air Services (Speke And Hawarden)

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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11.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what safety considerations preclude the inauguration of a Viscount or Pionair passenger air service between London and the North-West, notably Liverpool, Merseyside, Wrexham and North Wales areas; and to what extent Speke and Hawarden Airports are safe for such facilities.

The answer to the first part of the Question is "None, Sir." Speke is safe for Pionairs, but its runways would need strengthening for regular use by Viscounts, while Hawarden, although safe for Pionairs, is unsuitable for Viscounts.

Can my hon. Friend say, since he has now exhausted every possible excuse for not having an air service to the North-West, what initiative he is prepared to take to bring together all the interested parties with a view to ending the discrimination that exists in this part of the country, in view of the fact that it is the only important industrial area in England which has no form of air service at all?

I know that my hon. Friend appreciates that this is not entirely a matter for my right hon. Friend who has no power to order B.E.A. to run a route which, in its commercial judgment, would not be profitable. However, I feel sure that the Chairman of B.E.A. would be prepared to receive the deputation of interested hon. Members and to discuss the subject with them.

Is the Minister aware that aircraft on the London-Belfast air service pass directly over North Wales, and particularly over the airport at Hawarden? Could not arrangements be made for certain of these aircraft to stop at Hawarden?

I do not imagine that that would make the operation any more profitable.

19.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what objections he has raised to the use of Speke Airport, Liverpool, for scheduled passenger air services between that airport and London.

Having regard to my hon. Friend's answer to previous Questions on this subject, will he really ask his right hon. Friend to give sympathetic consideration to the considerable demand for an air service between London and Liverpool?

I do not think that I can add to what I have already suggested, which is that hon. Friends who are particularly interested might go and see Lord Douglas on this very important matter.

20.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what representations he has received concerning helicopter landing sites, in the centre or docks of Liverpool, for a feeder-service in the event of Speke Airport being used for a scheduled London—Liverpool air service.

The hon. Member has himself drawn my attention to the possibility of developing vacant land in the Liverpool Docks area for use by helicopters. The Liverpool Corporation has also consulted my Department on a proposal for a combined bus station and helicopter site in the central area of the city.

May I ask my hon. Friend what his right hon. Friend's views are in regard to these representations—whether he is encouraging as regards them or not?

As I informed the hon. Member, we feel that it is much too early to come to any definite conclusion as to the size of helicopter landing sites. We also feel that we should warn local authorities that it may be too early for them to go into very considerable expenditure. At the same time we are passing on to interested local authorities any information we glean to try to help them in this important matter.