HC Deb 12 July 1923 vol 166 cc1571-3
65. Mr. MARTIN

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will state the number of passengers carried to and from Croydon Aerodrome during the past 12 months; and the number of accidents, if any, which have befallen aircraft frequenting the Croydon Aerodrome?


The number of passengers arriving at and departing from the London Terminal Aerodrome, Croydon, on regular air routes during the 12 months ended 30th June, 1923, was 12,216 in British machines and 3,411 in foreign machines, or a total of 15,627. As regards accidents, by which I assume that the hon. Member means accidents involving death or personal injuries and not merely the trivial mishaps that sometimes happen on landing, etc., the answer is that no accidents of the kind have occurred to the British machines concerned during the 12 months ended 30th June last. As regards accidents to foreign aircraft, complete records are only available for accidents in this country; during the last 12 months one such accident occurred, resulting in injury to the pilot.

68. Mr. McENTEE

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, in view of the great increase in the number of accidents to aircraft, he will institute an inquiry into the cause of such increase of accidents; and whether he will publish statistics showing the number of accidents occurring before the introduction of the system of payment by results in aircraft manufacture and the number of accidents occurring since the introduction of this system?

Viscount CURZON

Before the right hon. Gentleman answers that question, may I ask whether it is correct to state, in the terms of the question, that there has been an increase in the number of accidents to aircraft?


a: The question is put to the Secretary of State for Air and not to the Noble Lord.


I will deal with that point. There has been no great increase in the number of accidents to British aircraft during the last three years, and the number of fatal accidents per flying hour for both service flying and civil flying on regular air routes has in fact decreased, despite the steady increase in the amount of flying carried out. I do not consider, therefore, that any special inquiry is necessary. With regard to the second part of the question, the information asked for is not readily available, and I have nothing to add to the answer that I gave to the hon. Member for West Nottingham (Mr. Hayday) on the 4th July.


What does the right hon. Gentleman mean by "no great increase" After all, it is the figures which we want to know, whether there has been a great increase or not.


In view of the increased amount of flying there has been an actual decrease. I employed the expression which the hon. Member himself uses in his own question.


Is it not the fact that the insurance companies are considering the question of a reduction in the premiums in consequence of the comparative immunity of aircraft from accidents?


I think that is so, and I hope my hon. and gallant Friend will use his influence to see that that reduction is carried out.

Captain BRASS

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the great danger to the public and the pilots of low flying outside the aerodrome in relay races, as was practised at the recent aerial pageant at Hendon; and whether he can see his way to have Regulations made whereby machines will be equipped with sealed aneroids fitted with maximum hands, so as to force pilots to attain a relatively high altitude—at least an altitude sufficiently high for them to get back in safety into the aerodrome in the event of an engine failure?


I am quite prepared to consider the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman. Perhaps he will send me further particulars on the subject.