HC Deb 09 February 1937 vol 320 cc224-5
Captain Peter Macdonald

(by Private Notice) asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has any statement to make in regard to the participation of the Australian Commonwealth in the Empire Air Transport Scheme.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Sir Philip Sassoon)

I am glad to be able to announce that His Majesty's Government in the Commonwealth of Australia have agreed to participate in the Empire Air Transport Scheme under arrangements which will secure the advantages of full co-operation between the Australian National Company and Imperial Airways and of a unified fleet over the whole route between Australia and the United Kingdom, whilst securing to the Commonwealth Government jurisdiction in certain matters such as administrative control over the section of the route between Singapore and Sydney. The agreement covers a period of 15 years, subject to the flying boats proposed for the service proving satisfactory during the first two years and also to the right of either party to withdraw at any time if the scheme is found, in the opinion of a general advisory committee representative of all the Governments participating in the scheme, to be unsatisfactory in operation and incapable of suitable adjustment. The agreement will enable all first class mail from this country to be carried by air to Australia at the postal rate of 1½d. a half 0z. when the scheme is introduced; but the Commonwealth Government propose to retain the surcharge rate of 5d. a half 0z. on mail from Australia subject to their right to adopt the principle of sending all first-class mail by the service as and when they so desire.

Captain Macdonald

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether British machines only will be used in this service?

Sir P. Sassoon

They will be machines belonging to the two companies.