HC Deb 19 November 1962 vol 667 cc815-6
34. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he is aware of the difficulties experienced by foreign visitors and home travellers in understanding many of the messages and instructions given over broadcasting systems in airways stations for which he is responsible; and whether he will ensure that the apparatus works efficiently and that operators should be trained to articulate and announce clearly.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Julian Amery)

I am well aware that public address systems have their limitations. The equipment at aerodromes for which I am responsible is, I understand, efficiently maintained, and at Heathrow the operating staff, both of my Ministry and of the airlines, are specially selected and trained. At the other aerodromes, announcements are usually made by airline staff, and I will bring the right hon. Gentleman's observations to the notice of the airlines concerned.

Mr. Woodburn

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this is a serious matter, not only in this country, but in railway stations and air stations all over Europe? People miss planes and staff have to spend time looking for passengers who have not heard the destination or the plane announcements. Is there any way of getting these people to articulate properly so that passengers can understand their plane times and destinations? Will he take steps to give them some tuition in elocution so that they speak clearly?

Mr. Amery

I take the point of the right hon. Member. There is a good deal in it, although there may be some difference of opinion as to correct articulation north and south of the Border.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Will my right hon. Friend arrange with the chairman of B.E.A. to ensure that less chit-chat takes place in B.E.A. aircraft, particularly as passengers are asked to look at a little booklet on safety which is given to them? There is far too much chit-chat. Could not my right Friend see that it is cut out?

Mr. Amery

I take the point made by my hon. Friend.