HC Deb 22 March 1944 vol 398 cc833-4
14. Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Secretary of State for Air what policy is to determine the selection of sites for post-war civil aviation and, in particular, seaplane landings.

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

The selection of sites far airports must be governed by operational suitability and lease of access to the centres of population to be served and the same considerations apply to the selection of seaplane bases.

Mr. Smith

Can the right hon. and gallant Gentleman give an undertaking to the House that the national interest will come first when considering this in the future?

Captain Balfour

Certainly, Sir.

15. Sir Waldron Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he will give an assurance that before coming to a decision as to the location of a civil airport for the London area, he will take the opinion of the House upon the matter.

Captain Balfour

The choice of civil airports for the London area after the war will, in all probability be made from the many airfields which are being used or developed in war time for war purposes and are capable of extension or adaptation for post-war civil needs. My hon. Friend will, I am sure, recognise that, in present circumstances, it is not possible, for reasons of security, to discuss the location of military airfields. As soon as the war situation allows such discussion, I will, of course, welcome any views which the hon. Members care to give me.

Sir W. Smithers

In any preliminary discussions for aerodromes or seadromes, would the right hon. and gallant Gentleman make it quite clear to all concerned that the first and only consideration is the best site in the national interest?

Captain Balfour

That is an undertaking I gave to the hon. Member who asked the preceding Question.