HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 cc861-2
33. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Minister of Aviation what steps he is taking to co-operate with the other military and civil aviation authorities in Europe in establishing an automatic electronic system of air traffic control to reduce the risk of collision of military and civil aircraft especially at high altitude.

Mr. Sandys

Her Majesty's Government and the Governments of the six European countries of the Common Market have agreed in principle upon the desirability of setting up a joint system of air traffic control above the height of 20,000 feet, and we are together studying the technical and other problems involved.

Mr. de Freitas

Can the Minister say at this stage whether he envisages civil control or military control and, if the latter, are the Government in touch with other non-N.A.T.O. countries which have military air forces?

Mr. Sandys

That is one of the questions which is at present being studied.

34. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation what reply he has made to the letter from the British Air Line Pilots Association containing the recommendation of the International Federation of Air Line Pilots Association that air traffic control should be exercised by a single civil agency.

Mr. Sandys

I have received a letter from the Association in which it said that it was writing to me at the express request of the hon. Member. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Since the letter was written only last Friday, I have not yet had time to send a reply.

Mr. Rankin

There is no objection, I hope, to taking precautions. While the right hon. Gentleman is thinking about the reply he will send, will he note that very soon in America 2,000 military aircraft control systems will come under the Federal Airways Administration, which is America's civil agency for the control of aircraft? If that is possible in America, what difficulties exist to prevent a similar application in this country?

Mr. Sandys

As I have already explained, I share the hon. Gentleman's interest in this question, but I cannot usefully add today to the Answers which I have given to the hon. Gentleman in the last two or three weeks.