HC Deb 14 March 1956 vol 550 cc379-80
49. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation when the Deputy-Chairman of British Overseas Airways Corporation was confirmed in that position.

Mr. Watkinson

Lord Rennell of Rodd was appointed Deputy-Chairman of the British Overseas Airways Corporation on 21st November last for a period of three years.

Mr. Rankin

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, immediately after his appointment, the Deputy-Chairman left the country for three months? Does that not seem to indicate a somewhat easy-osey attitude to this important job? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that during that period the Chairman, who has now returned to this country, was away for a number of weeks? In the absence of both these high officers, who provides an effective direction for B.O.A.C.? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that many of us think that that direction is not now so clear as it used to be?

Mr. Watkinson

I am well satisfied that the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman could not properly do their job of trying to sell an overseas airline to its customers without travelling abroad.

Mr. Beswick

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that he is well satisfied with the direction of the Corporation at the present time? Is there any reason why the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman should be out of the country at the same time?

Mr. Watkinson

As far as I understand the position, the Chairman and Deputy-Chairman try not to be abroad at the same time, but that is not always possible. I am entirely satisfied with the way in which B.O.A.C. is run.

Mr. G. R. Strauss

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the considerable disquiet about the recent appointments, about absences abroad and about the whole general direction given to the Corporation by members of the Corporation?

Mr. Watkinson

I am not aware of the points which the right hon. Gentleman has made.