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Helicopter Services

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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12.

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what discussions he has had, and with what results, in regard to the inauguration of experimental helicopter services between Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester with a branch link to London; what objections on grounds of noise he has considered from persons or bodies in these cities or others and whether he will now make a statement upon proposed experimental fare-paying helicopter passenger services between any or all of the cities named.

My right hon. Friend has no proposals for increasing the number of experimental helicopter services undertaken at public expense beyond the one allotted to the Helicopter Experimental Unit of British European Airways. Consequently, he has had no discussions on the experimental network to which the Question refers. Nor has he received any objections on the grounds of noise.

Reverting to the question of Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester, is this not the most fruitful area of the country for experiments in helicopter services, notably in view of the rather unsatisfactory train service and the much too great a length of time it takes to get from Birmingham or Liverpool or Manchester by rail?

We think that the experiments which are going to be carried out between the centre of London and London Airport will give us the basic information now required in order to speed up the development of helicopters, and we believe that the cost of additional helicopter experimental services would be extremely high and out of all proportion to any value they might have in supplementing the national development programme now being undertaken.

Will the Minister bear in mind that, whatever arguments may be adduced in favour of a helicopter service, those of us who have to use the railway service between London and Birmingham find it extremely satisfactory?