HC Deb 06 March 1946 vol 420 cc315-6
22 . Air-Commodore Harvey

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation why B.O.A.C. has had to suspend its flying-boat service between this country and Baltimore; and what steps are being taken to prevent this happening in future.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

The three Boeing flying-boats, which have each flown over 1,000,000 miles, are nearing the end of their useful life, and it was decided some months ago to take them out of service this year. The date of withdrawal has been advanced in order to release engineers and experienced aircrews for training on Constellation landplanes, in order to ensure the earliest possible introduction of an improved trans-Atlantic service with this new type of aircraft.

Air-Commodore Harvey

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the cancel- lation of the services has caused great concern throughout the country in aviation circles, and in view of the knowledge he had that these aircraft, which have given very good service, were to be taken off could not engineers have been sent out earlier? There are hundreds of engineers free, looking for jobs.

Mr. Thomas

It is more a question of the crews, perhaps, than the engineers.

Mr. Stokes

Will my hon. Friend make quite sure that these craft are taken out of service before they reach the end of their useful life?

Mr. Thomas

That is one of the reasons which have animated us. They will be used for a few months more between Baltimore and Bermuda and will then be taken out of service.

Sir W. Wakefield

Could the Parliamentary Secretary say what is meant by "useful life"? So long as they are fit and safe to fly, cannot they continue to be used?

Mr. Thomas

There was an accident with one of these aircraft last week. I think that safety must be the paramount consideration.

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