HC Deb 27 February 1963 vol 672 cc1228-9
3. Mr. H. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for Air whether Transport Command proposes to use some of the Britannia aircraft now available from British Overseas Airways Corporation.

Mr. H. Fraser

No, Sir.

Mr. Hynd

Is it true that there are quite a number of Britannias surplus to requirements lying at London Airport in the present ownership of B.O.A.C.? Is it also a fact that trooping overseas is now done entirely by air? Would it not be in the interests of the taxpayer if these two facts could be related?

Mr. Fraser

I have been into this in considerable detail. The saving, because of the time scale, would be almost negligible. It would mean retraining crews. They are not quite the right type of aircraft. They are rather old. I have looked at this matter most carefully and at the moment I must say that I see no advantage in taking these aircraft.

Sir C. Osborne

Has any definite offer been made by the Chinese Government for any of these?

Mr. Fraser

That is a matter for the the Minister of Aviation.

Mr. Mulley

I accept that it may not be necessarily the right policy to buy second-hand planes, but I hope that the right hon. Gentleman's answer is not to be construed as meaning that he is complacent about the very great deficiencies in Transport Command and our total inability to provide the mobility we need.

Mr. Fraser

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take back some of that statement. It is slightly exaggerated. I am not complacent. The V.C.10, the Belfast and other replacements will meet most of the need.