HC Deb 04 December 1946 vol 431 cc309-10
4. Mr. Rankin

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation what steps he is taking, or proposes to take, to secure an adequate supply of trained pilots to meet the developing needs of civil aviation; and, in particular, what is being done to prevent the outflow of experienced pilots to European countries.

Mr. Lindgren

My noble Friend has under close examination the future arrangements for the supply and training of pilots and aircrew to meet the developing needs of civil aviation. The subject is, of course, dependent on a number of factors, including, for example, the schemes of service and training in the Royal Air Force. It is a compliment to the quality of our pilots that they should be offered appointments with airlines of other countries, and my noble Friend has no power to prevent a pilot accepting an appointment outside the United Kingdom. In so far as employment within the United Kingdom is affected by salaries and conditions of employment my noble Friend is satisfied that adequate machinery exists to facilitate negotiation and agreement.

Mr. Rankin

While it may be true that it is a compliment to our pilots that they should be offered service with European air companies, can we take it that it is not also a reflection on our own services that these men should go there?

Mr. Lindgren

No, Sir. If it were a reflection, then no member of the British nation would ever have accepted an appointment in any other country, and this country's standing in the world and in its commerce would not have been what it is today.

Mr. John E. Haire

Is it not a fact that the salaries in the European companies are much higher?

Mr. Lindgren

I think it is true that in certain instances the salaries are higher, and higher salary in this line, as in any other, tends to attract people to it.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Is not one of the hon. Gentleman's difficulties going to be to see that salaries in Government corporations are raised to those in private services?

Mr. Lindgren

There is machinery for negotiation, and, as far as pilots transferring to foreign air lines are concerned, the information in the Department is that those who have transferred, to K.L.M. in particular, have come from chartered companies.

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