HC Deb 29 January 1958 vol 581 cc364-5
22. Mr. Edelman

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation in what circumstances, other than for operational reasons, he authorises diversions or interruptions of scheduled flights in aircraft under his control.

Mr. Watkinson

None, Sir; these matters are wholly within the discretion of the airline concerned.

Mr. Edelman

Is it not the fact that, in the case of at least one authority operating under the Minister, there has been a diversion of a flight for a non-operational reason, and as the good name of British civil aviation depends on the reliability and punctuality of scheduled flights, will he give instructions to the authorities operating under him that no flight will be diverted except for operational reasons, or for reasons of the highest public interest?

Mr. Watkinson

Perhaps it will help the House if I say that British European Airways—which, I think, is the main airline concerned—tries to be as helpful as possible to hon. Members of this House—and, indeed, to other persons who have some very urgent business; but the Corporation does not normally divert services for them, and I must make it plain that it is not under any statutory obligation to do so.