HC Deb 05 February 1947 vol 432 cc1756-7
31. Colonel Ropner

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation why aircraft passengers are not informed of the position of emergency exits in aircraft, and are given no instructions as to how they can be opened; and if he will ensure that the necessary action is taken to inform passengers on both these matters.

Mr. Lindgren

In accordance with the requirements of the Air Registration Board, all emergency exits together with their means of access and means of opening are adequately marked for the guidance of passengers.

Colonel Ropner

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is a notice "Emergency Exit" on one side of the aircraft, but no information is given to the passengers as to how to work it—whether one is supposed to pull something, push something, or put one's foot through it? No one knows how to get out of it.

Mr. Lindgren

That is not my information. My own observation in aircraft is that directions as to how to release emergency exits are displayed.

Air - Commodore Harvey

Will the Parliamentary Secretary consider issuing a notice to airmen making it compulsory for a member of the air crew, before taking off, to brief passengers on how to get out of the aeroplane in case of emergency?

Mr. Lindgren

That is done—[Interruption]—I wish hon. Members would allow me to finish my sentence—by one of the corporations, B.O.A.C. In the case of B.E.A., it was the practice, but it has been discontinued, and it never was the practice with South American Airways. There are two schools of thought, one of which says that it is frightening to passengers, before taking off, to be told of the emergency exits, and the other of which believes it is the correct thing. The publicity given to this Question will, I am sure, cause the matter to be reconsidered.

Mr. Eden

Can we be assured by the Minister that there will be one uniform practice, that is to say, that despite this alleged effect on the nerves of passengers, they will be told how to get out if they have got to do so in an emergency?

Mr. Lindgren

We will consider that.

Mrs. Leah Manning

Is my hon. Friend aware that nobody would dream of going to sea without having proper boat drill, and that this has no effect on the nerves of the passengers; and is he aware that whenever I fly I shall spend the time looking at the window and wondering how I can squeeze through?