HC Deb 29 July 1959 vol 610 cc490-1
29. Mr. Bence

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what steps he proposes to take to prevent the taking of alcohol by crews of British aircraft while on duty.

Mr. Hay

There is no evidence to suggest that the existing legislation which deals with the taking of alcohol by aircraft crews has been disregarded or that more stringent legislation is needed.

Mr. Bence

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that reply, and I appreciate what he says. Does he not think, in view of the tremendous record of safety in British aircraft, which is apparently due to the strict enforcement of these Regulations, that it would contribute to greater road safety if more stringent regulations were applied to prevent the carrying of alcoholic liquor in cocktail sets in cars.

Mr. Hay

That is a little wide of the Question on the Order Paper.

Mr. Remnant

Would my hon. Friend not agree that the purport of the Question casts a quite unfair aspersion on the sobriety of those British aircrews against whom there is no evidence whatever that they take alcohol during their tour of duty, and that we should offer our congratulations to these crews?

Mr. Hay

I was advised some time ago that it was always unwise for a Minister to speculate on the motives behind a Question which an hon. Member puts down, and I would not care to speculate on this occasion.

Mr. Beswick

Will the Joint Parliamentary Secretary say what the regulation is with regard to the consumption of alcohol?

Mr. Hay

Yes. The position is that it is an offence under the Air Navigation Order, 1954, for a member of the operating crew of an aircraft, or any other person having a duty to perform in the aircraft, to fly on duty when his capacity to do so is impaired by reason of having taken any intoxicating liquor. The operators of public transport aircraft in their Operations Manuals usually provide that it is an offence against company regulations for the crew to drink on duty or within a stated period before flying.

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