§ 3. Mr. S. O. Davies
asked the Secretary of State for Air on whose authority British fighter aeroplanes have on several occasions recently intercepted transport aircraft of the United Arab Republic following their usual air route between Cairo and Damascus.
With the approval of the Government of Cyprus, the Royal Air Force authorities in Cyprus have standing instructions to identify aircraft approaching the island.
Aircraft entering the Cyprus flight information region who have not given the air traffic control centre enough information to establish their identity and course, in accordance with the procedures recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation, may be approached by fighter aircraft to obtain visual identification. Some United Arab Republic aircraft have recently been approached in this way when they were not using the normal route between Cairo and Damascus and were flying nearer Cyprus than usual.
§ Mr. Davies
Can the right hon. Gentleman inform the House whether it is necessary to try to force these transport planes down on Cyprus before full indentification can be made? Is not it correct that these transport aircraft are following their usual routes that they have taken now for quite a long time, and that they are being interfered with illegally?
The point is that these aircraft are not on their normal routes. They are flying much nearer Cyprus than their normal routes and fighters approach 183 them to establish their identity and their course. It is a perfectly proper procedure to do so.