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Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his objectives are for military action in Helmand province in (a) the next three months, (b) the next six months and (c) the next 12 months; and if he will make a statement. (233669)

I am withholding details of our short term military objectives for operational security reasons. However, all military action in Helmand is fully integrated as part of the comprehensive approach. This also includes, as stated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 12 December 2007, Official Report, column 303, a long-term framework for security, political, social and economic development for Afghanistan.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many flights transporting service personnel to Britain from theatre in Afghanistan have been (a) cancelled and (b) delayed in each year since 2006. (234391)

The following table shows the punctuality statistics for RAF Tristar passenger flights returning from Kandahar, Afghanistan to Brize Norton. Unlike the civil air sector which measures departure punctuality the MOD chooses to measure the punctuality of arrival at the destination airfield, in this case Brize Norton.

Number of flights

On time1

Between one to three hours of schedule

Delayed between three to six hours of schedule

Delayed over six hours

14 February 2006 to 31 December 2006 (date reflects start of service in 2006)

156

88

20

10

38

1 January 2007 to 31 December 2007

225

164

23

8

30

1 January 2008 to 31 October 2008

215

121

27

30

37

1 Defined as within one hour of schedule

Flights will only be cancelled from the schedule if the requirement ceases. Potential causes of delay include bad weather, technical delays to ensure flight safety and the need to divert aero-medical cases direct to Birmingham airport. In the event of a protracted delay, where practicable, an alternative means will be found to move passengers.