HC Deb 10 November 1948 vol 457 cc1528-9
16. Mr. Douglas Marshall

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation when he proposes to start an air service to the West of England and Cornwall.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation (Mr. Lindgren)

Regular air services to the West of England and Cornwall are not included in the British European Airways Corporation's programme for the current year, and I cannot give any indication when they will be started.

Mr. Marshall

Is the Under-Secretary aware that, in 1946, over two years ago, the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland), during the passage of the Civil Aviation Bill, definitely asserted that this Bill would make possible for the first time a service to the West of England? What is the Minister going to do about it, and, if he is going to do nothing, will he let private enterprise do the job?

Mr. Lindgren

I am afraid that the earlier statements, quite frankly, were optimistic. There is a relationship between air and surface transport and, in the present economic situation, air transport is provided to those places where the normal surface means of transport are difficult or arduous.

Mr. Beechman

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that, during the Summer Recess, I was officially informed that I could now fly to Cornwall for nothing, but, as there is no service, does not this leave me very much in the air?

Mr. Marshall

Is the Minister aware that his Department is behaving like a cross dog with a bone which does not want the bone and will not give it to anybody else?

Mr. Lindgren

If private enterprise wants to run a service, there is that possibility under Associate Agreements, and, if application is made, it will be considered.

Mr. Marshall

Thank you.

Mrs. Middleton

As the West of England would much prefer a nationalised service, would my hon. Friend look into the matter to see if the West Country could not be better served by this means?

Mr. Lindgren

The whole question is under review, but I would be misleading the House if I did not say that the installation of a service is not likely in the near future.

Brigadier Rayner

Has the hon. Gentleman yet realised that private enterprise would have provided that service two years ago?