HC Deb 21 November 1960 vol 630 cc753-5
29. Mr. Ross

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a statement on the future development of Prestwick Airport.

Mr. Thorneycroft

The development is proceeding as planned. The extension of the main runway was completed in June in time for the big jets. The new control tower will be ready next summer. The contract for the first part of the new terminal apron and taxiway will be placed within a few weeks and a contract for the new airport terminal building will be placed next spring.

Mr. Ross

Does the Minister appreciate that this very costly development at Prestwick should be borne in mind when he is considering the proper use of this as an international airport? To develop the international airport as we are doing here and at the same time to deny the proper air linkage with centres of population within the country is really a bit ridiculous. Will he ask B.E.A. to get busy on the question of providing proper feeder services for Prestwick right away?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I have a feeling that we entered into this last week when answering questions on the subject, but meanwhile I am sure that the hon. Gentleman realises that these developments are necessary for the completion of this great international airport.

Mr. Gough

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the total inadequacy of passenger accommodation at Prestwick, particularly in regard to jet passengers coming from Canada destined for London who are cooped up in aircraft for half an hour because there is nowhere else in Prestwick for them?

Mr. Thorneycroft

Certainly the starting of a new terminal building will make a great contribution to that.

Mr. Rankin

Is the Minister aware that we are only entering into this business, we have not finished it? If it is important for strong reasons that we should concentrate on internal traffic at Renfrew, does he realise that it is as far from Prestwick to Renfrew as it is from Renfrew to Prestwick, and that we should try to consider those passengers travelling to London in the Ayrshire section so that they may have feeder services to London along with international air transport passengers?

Mr. Thorneycroft

I will certainly bear all these considerations very fully in mind.