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Air Passenger Safety

Volume 986: debated on Monday 16 June 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade if he remains satisfied with current provisions for air passenger safety.

The safety of operation of British passenger-carrying aircraft is the responsibility of the Civil Aviation Authority and I am satisfied with the provisions by which the CAA is able to meet this responsibility and with the way the authority carries out its obligations in this regard. In respect of the air safety of foreign aircraft, this is a matter for the State of registry concerned, in accordance with the ICAO convention.

While I welcome that reply, may I ask whether my hon. Friend saw the statement that the CAA made last week to the effect that much of Britain's air traffic radar is as much as 25 years old, and that in safety terms it is incompatible with the future needs of London airport? What discussions has my hon. Friend had with the CAA about replacing that equipment as soon as possible? I accept that in May an order was placed with a Dutch company for £9·7 million of radar equipment.

I must emphasise the confidence that we have in the way in which the Civil Aviation Authority discharges its responsibilities. I have no doubt that the matters that my hon. Friend has raised will be carefully considered by the authority and that we shall take part in that consideration.