§ 4. Mr. Driberg
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation the circumstances in which London Aero and Motor Services, Limited, Stansted, were allowed to operate an air service to Australia; and if, in view of the 1782 fact that they have left a number of aircrew and other employees stranded in Australia, without pay or information, he will withdraw all facilities from them.
§ Mr. Lindgren
London Aero and Motor Services, Limited, are an air charter company and have not been granted permission to operate a scheduled air service to Australia. Following a report from the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Australia, the difficulties of the crew were taken up with the company who replied on 31st March that the crew of the aircraft "are being supplied with funds and that we hope to get them back to this country as soon as we get an adequate load." The answer to the last part of the Question is in the negative.
§ Mr. Driberg
Is my hon. Friend aware that on 11th April, II days after the date he mentions, the crew still had not heard from the company or from the United Kingdom High Commissioner about their difficulties, and can he consider doing something to extend to aircrew in these circumstances the protection already afforded to merchant seamen stranded overseas?
§ Mr. Lindgren
The company were in financial difficulties, and a new financial interest took over operations from 20th March. They are trying to take action. In reply to the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary, legislation would be needed; this case in particular, emphasises the necessity for such legislation, which is being considered.
§ Mr. Keeling
Is the Minister aware that some hon. Members on this side of the House are less interested in the retribution suggested in the Question, than in getting their constituents home? Cannot he endeavour, through the High Commissioner, to get them home whether or not there is a pay load for the aircraft?