HC Deb 10 April 1946 vol 421 cc1914-6
35. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on how many occasions since VE-Day was it found necessary to divert incoming aircraft to Prestwick airport owing to the fog-bound conditions of other airfields.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

From VE-Day to 31st March, 1946, five civil aircraft arriving in the United Kingdom from abroad were diverted to Prestwick owing to weather conditions at the airport of destination. Three of these diversions were made in accordance with the weather minima laid down by the United States Civil Aeronautics Administration regarding the use of Hurn by Pan-American Airways and American Overseas Airlines. On these days, however, Hurn continued to be used by British Overseas Airways Corporation. During the same period, 162 military aircraft were either diverted to, or recalled to, Prestwick.

Sir T. Moore

In view of those facts, will the hon. Gentleman say why the Government persistently refuse to acknowledge that Prestwick is the only reliable fog free airport in Britain?

Mr. Thomas

On the contrary, we have persistently proclaimed the weather merits of Prestwick.

Mr. Scollan

Does my hon. Friend know of any case where an aircraft destined for Renfrew was diverted to Prestwick?

Mr. Thomas

Renfrew also has an extraordinarily good record of service.

Mr. Beswick

Do not the facts which my hon. Friend has given simply indicate that Hum requires up-to-date radio landing aids?

Mr. Thomas

That may be so, but, as I have said before, our policy is to get the London Airport into operation as quickly as possible, so that we can then discontinue the use of Hurn as a transoceanic airport.

Mr. Gallacher

Has any aeroplane, making for Prestwick, ever been diverted to another airport?

Mr. Thomas

I should want notice of that question.

37. Major Niall Macpherson

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, how many aircraft have been diverted to Prestwick on account of bad landing conditions elsewhere during the period 1st October, 1945, to 3rst March, 1946.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

Twenty-four civil aircraft, and 64 military, were diverted or recalled to Prestwick on account of had landing conditions elsewhere during the period in question.

39. Mr. Willis

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many of the 14 Atlantic services for 1946 and of the 28 services for 1947–48, proposed by the United Kingdom delegation at Dublin, will call at Prestwick.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

For some time yet, the Liberator service will continue to operate to and from Prestwick six times a week each way. Plans are not yet sufficiently advanced for me to be able to say how many of the services referred to at Dublin will be routed via Prestwick It is, however, accepted policy that some of them will be so routed and plans are proceeding on this basis.

Sir T. Moore

The hon. Gentleman will not deny that on 1st April his representatives took over the airport at Prestwick, and if that is so, has this date any special significance in regard to the Government's ideas for nationalisation?

Mr. Thomas

No, Sir, not in relation to the Government's proposals in general. But it has a double significance at Prestwick in that this airport was designated as an international airport anti control was taken over by the Ministry of Civil Aviation.

40. Sir T. Moore

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation on what authority the airport at Prestwick was taken over on 1st April as a nationalised undertaking, before the Bill to enable this to be done was presented to Parliament.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

The airport at Prestwick has not yet been taken over as a nationalised undertaking. It is being maintained and used by my Noble Friend under the provisions of the Requisitioned Land and War Works Act, 1945, by arrangement with the Secretary of State for Air, by whom it is held on requisition.

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