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Belfast Air Terminal

Volume 649: debated on Monday 20 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Aviation why his staff at Belfast air terminal refused to allow passengers travelling on Flights BE6017, 6025 and 6039 on Saturday 11th November to carry personally their own small and medium-sized baggage; and what warnings he gave to air travellers as to the nature of the baggage that could be carried.

Passengers leaving Belfast on 11th November were not stopped from carrying their own baggage, but there may have been a misunderstanding, which we regret, of the warning given to them that, owing to the strike at Heathrow, the airline was accepting hand baggage only. B.E.A. issued a Press Notice on Friday, 10th November, about the nature of the baggage it could accept.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the confused and conflicting Press and radio announcements caused great hardship to passengers, as it was not clear what could be carried? Is he further aware that his statement today as to the nature of the luggage which passengers on these flights were able to carry is incorrect? I will send him details from my constituents.

I shall be very glad to receive details from my hon. Friend. I repeat that we regret the misunderstanding. But what is baggage that can be carried or not varies for different people, and it was defined in a notice, finally issued on the Sunday morning, as a maximum of 22 lb.

Will my hon. Friend also take into consideration that the personnel at the airports have done extremely well in coping with the strike situation and enabling passengers to fly, at any rate on the domestic routes?

I am sure that my hon. and gallant Friend's remarks will be appreciated.

In view of the criticism, will the hon. Member accept our congratulations on sending the men back to work with a higher settlement than the wage for which they originally struck?