HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1802-4
37. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has any further statement to make concerning the new airfield for Hong Kong.

41. Mr. Lennox-Boyd

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what progress has been made regarding the negotiations to build a new civil airport at Hong Kong.

Mr. Mayhew

My right hon. Friend regrets that he is not yet in a position to add anything to the reply which he gave to the hon. Member for Brighton (Mr. Teeling) on 4th February. He hopes to be in a position to make a statement on the subject in the near future.

Mr. Teeling

Does not the Under-Secretary realise that that answer said that the matter was under active consideration, which has now gone on for many months; and does he further realise that now international aircraft are by-passing Hong Kong because they cannot land there, and that the problem is becoming very serious.

Mr. Mayhew

Yes, Sir. There will be a statement, though, in the near future.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Before that statement is made will the hon. Gentleman convey to his right hon. Friend that at the moment no aircraft of any kind can land at night at Hong Kong, which, in view of Hong Kong's importance, is humiliating?

Mr. John Paton

Would my hon. Friend also bear in mind that the existing airfield at Hong Kong is difficult at all times, and on many days of the year is positively dangerous to the aircraft which use it; and would he impress on his right hon. Friend the need for urgency in the matter?

Mr. Mayhew

I will certainly put those points to my right hon: Friend.

39. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the numbers of passengers passing through Kai Tak Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively, each month; what is the biggest aircraft which can land at either airfield at present; and what expenditure his Department has authorised to spend on airfields in Hong Kong and Malaya, respectively.

Mr. Mayhew

As the reply to this Question is rather long and contains a number of figures, I propose, with the permission of the hon. Member, to arrange for it to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Teeling

As Singapore receives, roughly, about a quarter of the number of aircraft received at Hong Kong, why has the Colonial Office already spent a considerable amount of money on Singapore and nothing on Hong Kong?

Mr. Mayhew

Perhaps the hon. Member would read the reply and put down a further Question on that subject.

Mr. Teeling

On a point of Order. Although no doubt it will be interesting to read the reply, I feel that it really is time to give notice that I shall attempt to raise this on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment in order to secure a fuller discussion.

Following is the reply:

Kai Tak, the civil airport at Hong Kong, was used by over 15,000 passengers during March, and I am advised that the traffic is increasing. The largest aircraft that has yet landed there is a Douglas Skymaster, but the airport is not generally regarded as suitable for use by four-engined aircraft. At Singapore two airports are at present used by civil air-craft. Kallang airport is used by approximately 5,00o passengers per month, and Tengah, an R.A.F. airfield which, pending the construction of a new civil airport, has temporarily been made available for limited use by civil aircraft, is used by approximately 1,50o civilian passengers per month. The largest aircraft permitted to land at Kallang is the Douglas Skymaster, and at Tengah the Constellation.

I assume that the last part of the Question refers to new constructional work and not to the recurrent expenditure necessary for maintenance. In so far as Hong Kong is concerned, I can only refer the hon. Member to the reply given to Question No. 37. A new airport is being built at Changi in Singapore. The expenditure so far authorised on this airport is £2,280,000, of which £1,425,000 will fall to be met from the Votes of the Air Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Aviation. In addition, approximately £534,000 of the Singapore share of the expenditure will be met from Singapore's allocation of Colonial Development and Welfare funds.