HC Deb 20 May 1963 vol 678 cc11-2
15. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will make a further statement on the progress of his negotiations with Glasgow Corporation about the replacement of Renfrew Airport by a new civil aerodrome at Abbotsinch.

Mr. Marten

I have nothing to add to what I said in reply to the hon. Member's Question on 6th May.

Mr. Rankin

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that in Glasgow we are all hoping for a successful conclusion to these negotiations, but in a way which will not impose too heavy a financial burden on the Corporation in view of the present high rating situation? After Whitsun, say, will the hon. Gentleman be able to make a further statement about these negotiations? Can we then look forward to Abbotsinch Airport being started in the year when the Government promised to have it completed?

Mr. Marten

The answer to the first and third supplementary questions is "Yes". I hope to make a statement when we reassemble after the Whitsun Recess.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Before the hon. Gentleman makes a statement, will he keep in mind that if Prestwick were made the alternative to Abbotsinch many millions of pounds would be saved, that this is an airport which is fog-free and whose access to Glasgow could be so accelerated as to make the difference in time only a matter of minutes? Will he look again at the possibility of the choice of Prestwick with its many resources? If he has any doubts, will he ask the pilots who will have to land at Abbotsinch?

Mr. Marten

As the hon. Gentleman may know, I went up there the week before last and personally looked into the three matters which he has raised. They are factors which are taken into general consideration, but I return to the point I made to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin) at Question Time last week—that if Glasgow Corporation wishes to have its own civic airport and to make a suitable financial contribution, it must do so.