HC Deb 25 May 1938 vol 336 cc1209-10
50. Major Procter

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether, as it will not be possible for British Airways, Limited, to operate a service to Budapest this year, he will now give favourable consideration to the offer of Imperial Airways. Limited, to initiate forthwith a British service on this route and to maintain it until such time as other arrangements may be made?

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Captain Harold Balfour)

The offer of Imperial Airways to resume the service to Budapest this summer was fully considered, but as the type of aircraft available for this service would not compare favourably with aircraft of competing foreign lines, it was decided that the heavy subsidy necessary for the resumption of the service could not be justified.

Major Procter

Will the hon. Member tell us why we have not got an aeroplane comparable with foreign aircraft?

Captain Balfour

The reason has been explained to the House. The pressure of the expansion programme has taken up all the designing and manufacturing facilities of the aircraft industry for the present.

Mr. Montague

Does the answer mean that Imperial Airways propose to run a route which is regarded as the most difficult in Europe without being able to su[...]plant the old D.H. 86 machines?

Captain Balfour

Imperial Airways offered to run the service, which was closed down on 4th October last, with D.H. 86 aircraft, the only aircraft the company have available for the service. That offer was considered by the Inter-Departmental Committee on International Air Communications on 11th May, and it was decided that the payment of subsidy would not be justified for a service to be run with those machines.

Mr. Montague

How does it come about, since the Air Ministry have turned down that particular aeroplane for that particular service, that the proposal should be made again by Imperial Airways?

Captain Balfour

The point is, so far as the Department is concerned, that the. proposal was not accepted.

Mr. Mander

Was not this service closed down because the pilots flying it said it was unsafe to carry it on?

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