11 and 12.
asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) on how many occasions during the last year Middleton St. George Royal Air Force Station has been used by civil aeroplanes; and what are the conditions for its use for this purpose;(2) on how many days in the last year Middleton St. George Royal Air Force Station has been in use for Service flying.
Middleton St. George airfield has been out of use since the beginning of June for runway repairs. However, in the year ended 31st May, it was open for flying on 351 days and used by Service aircraft on 292 of them. This involved about 20,000 movements. It was used by civil aircraft on 92 occasions. When the runway repairs are completed next month, the airfield will again be available to civil aircraft for diversion purposes and for occasional civil flights provided the permission of the Commanding Officer is obtained beforehand.
As the only means of developing a civil air service to and from Tees-side lies in the use of this airfield, and as there seems to be scope for the use of it to be increased provided that there is no interference with priorities for the Air Force, will the right hon. Gentleman make every effort to bring this about so that we can have a civil air service to Tees-side?
I am well aware of the strong feeling on Tees-side about this. It was made clear to me during a visit which I paid recently to Middlesbrough. We shall certainly do everything we can to provide this, compatible with the operational rôle.
Are requests growing greatly at the moment for the use of this station by civil aeroplanes?
I do not think that they are growing all that much. There were 92 occasions on which there were civil movements up to 31st May this year.