HC Deb 01 February 1956 vol 548 cc907-8
7. Miss Burton

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation if he is now in a position to make a statement on the policy to be adopted for civil aircraft in this country in so far as backward-facing seats are concerned.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation (Mr. John Profumo)

This is a matter on which expert opinion is not unanimous. It is to be discussed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation in September this year, and any decision affecting British aircraft must await the outcome of the discussion.

Miss Burton

While being aware, of course, that this has gone on for a long time and that opinion is not unanimous on the subject, may I ask the Minister if he appreciates that people would like to know at what decision the Government may arrive? May we hope that it will not be later than September?

Mr. Profumo

I quite appreciate the hon. Lady's interest in this matter. I do not think that I can give an undertaking that a decision will not be later than September. The matter will only be discussed in September. Meanwhile, it is generally recognised that the Government's policy is that we should not make rearward-facing seats mandatory, in view of conflicting opinions on the matter, until some international agreement is arrived at, which would mean that all airlines could do the same thing.