HC Deb 17 June 1953 vol 516 cc950-1
9. Mr. Beswick

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation when the civil airline operators were asked to give their opinions about the operation of F.I.D.O, at London Airport; when the replies were received; and what is the consensus of opinion of the operators with regard to this matter.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Proposals on F.I.D.O. at London Airport were put to the airline operators in November, 1950, and April, 1951, when the hon. Member was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Final replies had been received by September, 1951. When the present Government took office, however, it found the implications of these proposals too expensive. A scheme for a considerably cheaper installation has since been worked out. British European Airways (which is the largest user of London's Airports) have examined this new scheme in detail and gave their views last March. The general proposal was also discussed with British Overseas Airways Corporation last July.

In general, the operators see considerable possibilities in F.I.D.O. as an aid to regularity, but I should emphasise that it is not a necessity for safety purposes, since aircraft can always be diverted to another aerodrome.

Mr. Beswick

When the right hon. Gentleman talks about the new developments, is he referring to the jets burning heavy oil, and, if so, is he aware that that development was already known when the operators were first approached? Having got this other information, can he say when he is going to make a decision on the matter?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

A new development which I had particularly in mind was that the former plans covered the full approach length. The present scheme only covers the runway, with the result that the total capital cost falls from £227,000 to £130,000, and the average landing charge from £300 to £120, which makes it all much more worth while.