HC Deb 05 April 1965 vol 710 cc11-2
11. Mr. Doig

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will permit the use of Leuchars Airfield by one civil plane daily, morning and evening, as a first step towards enabling Dundee to obtain a regular air service.

The Under-Secretary of State for Defence for the Royal Air Force (Mr. Bruce Millan)

Leuchars is an important fighter base whose operational task must have priority at all times. This requirement is difficult to reconcile with the operation of a scheduled service, though I should of course be prepared to consider any specific proposals which may be put to me.

Mr. Doig

While I am just a little doubtful as to what that Answer means, I hope that it means what I think it means—that the door is still open for future negotiations with the Ministry over this decision.

Mr. Millan

I would put it like this, that the door is not completely closed, but there are considerable difficulties from our point of view.

Mr. Rankin

Is it not the case that certain airfields are used both for military and civil aircraft at present—Prestwick is one example—and would my hon Friend keep that fact in mind when reconsidering the question?

Mr. Millan

As far as I know, there are no operational R.A.F. stations where there are scheduled civil services at the moment. There are very considerable difficulties about that. I am not sure whether any civil operators are at the moment interested in running services from Leuchars. As I say, there are difficulties, but we would certainly listen to any propositions which were put to us.

Commander Courtney

Will the hon. Gentleman allow private light aircraft to use Leuchars aerodrome if they are equipped with radio, without having to obtain prior permission before leaving the ground?

Mr. Millan

No, Sir, not without prior permission, but any unscheduled services operating on a random basis, provided that they declare their intention in advance, are allowed to land at Leuchars and, indeed, at most R.A.F. airfields