HC Deb 20 November 1946 vol 430 c840
35. Mr. John E. Haire

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation, why British aircraft, ex British airports, often fly with vacant seats when there is a long waiting list of intending passengers.

Mr. Lindgren

It would be wrong to assume that empty seats necessarily mean that an aircraft is not fully loaded. The weight an aircraft can carry is, of course, limited. Civil aircraft carry freight and mails as well as passengers, and the corporations in the ordinary course of management have to strike the happy mean in balancing the three classes of load.

Mr. Haire

Is my hon. Friend aware that on a recent trip which I made to Vienna—which was not at the Government's expense—five seats were occupied out of 17, and that when I made inquiries, privately, why the other seats were not taken, I was told that they had been reserved for military and diplomatic personnel who had not cancelled their bookings?

Mr. Lindgren

That does arise on occasions, but they are very few indeed.

Mr. Keeling

Will the hon. Gentleman get out a statement showing what proportion of seats was vacant when civil aviation companies were free of Government control, as compared with the number vacant now?

Mr. Lindgren

If the hon. Gentleman will put down a question, and the information is available, I will supply an answer.