HC Deb 21 November 1956 vol 560 cc1738-9
26. Sir J. Hutchison

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what plans he has under consideration for lengthening the runways at Prestwick Airport.

Mr. Profumo

I am afraid that I cannot yet add anything to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Aberdeenshire, East (Sir R. Boothby) on 24th October.

Sir J. Hutchison

In view of the promise which the Government gave that Prestwick Airport would be maintained as a first-class international airport, and in view of the statement made by the President of Trans-Canada Airlines that the runways at Prestwick will soon be inadequate for modern aircraft and will require lengthening and strengthening, will my hon. Friend initiate or at least examine how soon he can initiate works to bring the runways up to date?

Mr. Profumo

As I am sure my hon. Friend knows, the present length of the runways at Prestwick is perfectly capable of taking all existing types of modern airliners.

With regard to the new giant jets, the International Civil Aviation Organisation has set up a panel of experts to try to find out what the requirements will be. Until we get those requirements, and indeed the requirements of the airlines themselves, I am afraid my right hon. Friend can go no further than I have just gone.

Mr. Woodburn

Could not the hon. Gentleman give an assurance that there will be no going back on the decisions of all Governments up till now that Prestwick is to be kept in the front line of international airports? Is the hon. Gentleman not aware that there is great perturbation in Scotland lest there may be a tendency to let this mater slide? If we could have an assurance that Prestwick is going to be kept up to standard, that would allay a great deal of the doubts.

Mr. Profumo

I hope that what I have said will allay any suspicions there may be in Scotland. I reiterate that Prestwick is still the second international airport in the United Kingdom.