HC Deb 23 November 1955 vol 546 cc1459-60
54. Mr. Beswick

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he will issue the new regulations on flight limitations on aircrew before the tribunal to be set up by the Minister of Labour to adjudicate on operating conditions of aircrew starts its hearings; and what steps he is taking to ensure that the flight duty schedules to be laid down by the operators after the findings of the tribunal are known, will conform to the safety limits to be laid down in his regulations.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The new regulations will be laid before Parliament as soon as they are ready, but I cannot say whether this will be before or after the setting up of the Tribunal. The Regulations will prescribe flight time maxima for safety purposes which it would be an offence to exceed.

Mr. Beswick

Would not the position be a little difficult if the operating schedules laid down after consideration by the tribunal are found to be outside the safety regulations which the Minister proposes to lay down? Is he further aware that there is a good deal of feeling, I think on both sides of the House, that representations made to him on this matter by responsible organisations have not been given the care and consideration by his Department that they might well have received?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I certainly do not accept that. On the contrary, we are, for the first time, prescribing reasonably detailed flight time limits, and I think that is accepted as a very considerable move forward. With regard to the first part of the Question, whatever may be the award or decision of the tribunal it would not be possible for hours to be flown in excess of those prescribed on safety grounds under the safety regulations.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Can the Minister say whether the flight times to which he has referred, and which will be in the regulations, have received the approval of the different organisations representing crews? Have those organisations approved, or have they tabled objections after consultations with the right hon. Gentleman?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

These matters have been discussed with all the interests concerned. They do not go as far as one set of bodies would like, and they go a good deal further than bodies on the other side of the table would like, and therefore they are probably about right.

Air Commodore Harvey

In view of the almost daily changes in conditions of work for aircrew, will my right hon. Friend be careful what he writes?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Yes, Sir.