HC Deb 21 April 1948 vol 449 cc1780-1
3. Mr. Beswick

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation why the B.O.A.C. Atlantic services of the Constellation aircraft cannot be maintained and the aircraft serviced in this country; and whether the Boeing aircraft, with which it is proposed eventually to replace the Constellations, will be serviced and maintained in this country.

Mr. Lindgren

Because the safe and regular crossing of the Atlantic nine times a week in each direction with a fleet of six Constellations requires adequate hangar and workshop accommodation, which will not be available in this country until the new base at Filton is ready. The answer to the second part of the Question is, "Yes, Sir."

Colonel J. R. H. Hutchison

Does not the hon. Gentleman know that there is, and has been for some time, accommodation at Prestwick for three Constellations, provided that side-slipping gear be made available to take them?

Mr. Lindgren

No, Sir. I am afraid my information is not in accordance with that of the hon. and gallant Member.

Mr. Beswick

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there are at least six hangars in the country, apart from those in Scotland, which could accommodate these Constellations, and will he reconsider this matter? With regard to the second part of his answer, will he say where it is proposed to service the Boeing aircraft in this country?

Mr. Lindgren

So far as the first part of the question is concerned, whilst it is true that the hon. Member for West Middlesbrough (Mr. Cooper) drew the attention of the Ministry to the hangars at a number of places, one needs, in addition to hangars, housing accommodation for maintenance staff. It is little use having staff without housing, because other problems arise therefrom. So far as the Boeing aircraft are concerned, they will be maintained at Filton.

Group-Captain Wilcock

Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that it is not necessary to have hangar accommodation to maintain these large aircraft, and that during the war aircraft of this type were maintained quite satisfactorily in the open by the Royal Air Force?

Mr. Lindgren

I am afraid that, under civil conditions, men are not prepared to work in the open, as they were in the Royal Air Force.

Mr. Cooper

Can the Parliamentary Secretary say whether there is any target date to which he is working for the transfer of the service from Montreal to this side of the Atlantic?

Mr. Lindgren

Yes, Sir, December of this year.