§ 5. Captain Corfield
asked the Secretary of State for Air to what extent the calls on Transport Command involved in the movement of two companies of infantry from Kenya to Muscat prevented Transport Command from undertaking the transport of 600 troops to Christmas Island; and if he will make a statement on the adequacy of Transport Command for these purposes.
Hardly at all; most of this move was carried out in Beverleys, which are not designed for long-range trooping such as the move to Christmas Island. On the second part of the Question, we are, as the House is aware, greatly expanding the capacity of Transport Command. Even at its present size however, the Command would have been well able to undertake the move to Christmas Island had it not been for other high priority tasks.
§ 6. Mr. de Freitas
asked the Secretary of State for Air which private firms hold air trooping contracts obtained without competition from the nationalised air Corporations.
The air charter firms at present holding regular Service contracts are Air Charter; Airwork; Britavia; Dan Air; Eagle Aviation; Scottish Aviation; Skyways and Transair.
§ Mr. de Freitas
Although most of these firms are highly reputable and experienced, will not the Government change their doctrinaire, anti-B.E.A., anti-B.O.A.C. policy and give troops and ratepayers the benefit of competition from our national airlines?
There is no reason to suppose that troops or families or anyone else will be any better served by the Corporations, and the record of the civil operators in this sphere has been excellent.
§ Mr. de Freitas
Will the right hon. Gentleman please answer my point? Will he not give the taxpayers the benefit of the competition? If the position is as he says, no harm will be done.
I am sorry to have to keep repeating this—I have repeated it several times. The policy of the Government is to allow the Corporations to concentrate on scheduled services.