HC Deb 30 November 1959 vol 614 cc859-60
31. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Aviation what consultations he has had with the Minister of Transport with a view to making London Airport more accessible to passengers travelling to and from central London.

Mr. Sandys

I am in close touch with my right hon. Friend on this subject.

Mr. Strauss

Is there any chance of a decision being arrived at on this matter? Is the Minister aware that discussions have been going on for years about the possibility of having a rail link, or monorail, or something of that sort? Are not we as far off as we ever were from arriving at a conclusion on this urgent problem? Is there any hope of a conclusion being reached?

Mr. Sandys

I should think that the discussions will go on for a long time yet. I shall be surprised if they do not. As the right hon. Gentleman knows very well, the first task is to improve the road, and it is being progressively improved, as anybody travelling along it can see. I am told that when the work is completed the journey between the Cromwell Road terminal and the airport will not take more than about 23 or 25 minutes. If we were to introduce a monorail or a similar system we might cut ten minutes off that time. I am not saying that it is not desirable, but up to now these schemes have foundered owing to their high cost, and to the fact that other schemes have claimed priority in the expenditure of Government money.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that it takes passengers longer to travel from London to the airport than to fly from the airport to Paris? Will he give some thought to the possibility of establishing helicopter stations?

Mr. Sandys

The trouble is that aircraft fly so fast nowadays.