HC Deb 11 March 1924 vol 170 cc2187-8

As to civil aviation, the House knows that the Ministry itself conducts no services for passengers, mails or freight. That is left entirely to private enterprise, we providing aerodrome facilities. The amalgamation of four air transport companies into the Imperial Air Transport Company is due for completion at the end of this month. A subsidy of £1,000,000, spread over ten years, has been agreed, subject, of course, to conditions of mileage, flying, and other matters. This scheme was endorsed by the last Parliament, and it will be faithfully carried out on the part of this Government. Our principal civil aerodrome at Croydon will have to be enlarged. This means the purchase of additional land, the diversion of a public road, the reconstruction of buildings, and so on. It is proposed, therefore, to spend, in the current year, £120,000 as a first instalment. Light aeroplane trials have been carried out at Lympne during the last year with very great success. This year, therefore, we propose to hold a competition for two-seaters, under more or less similar conditions. Full details have not yet been worked out. The Air Council is anxious to form, throughout the country, light aeroplane clubs, but this scheme cannot be initiated until a dual control light aeroplane has been produced. Investigations on this matter are already afoot. The scheme will involve Government help in money and technical advice. For the present, we are not asking for money at all, but possibly a year hence, with some luck, the scheme may be ripe for presentation. The arrangements made last year for training the Royal Air Force Reserve pilots are also working well. Four schools are in existence, two more are being formed, and it is hoped that both will be functioning in the course of the next three months. Instructions will be given in twin-engine aircraft and in seaplane and boat flying. This is in addition to the syllabus laid down for the training of signal aeroplane pilots.

Forward to