HC Deb 04 August 1965 vol 717 cc1681-2
22. Mr. Kirk

asked the Minister of Aviation what is the maximum number of aircraft movements an hour possible at London Airport under present circumstances; and what are the results of comparisons he has made with other airports of similar size.

Mr. Roy Jenkins

The present capacity of Heathrow airport is a sustained rate of 48 movements per hour. By 1967 we hope to have increased this to 64. Heathrow handles many more aircraft than any other airport in Europe; more are handled at several United States airports, but the conditions at these airports are, for many reasons, not comparable.

Mr. Kirk

Can the Minister say why conditions at United States airports are not comparable? Is he aware that certain experts say that at Kennedy Airport and O'Hare Airport, Chicago, three times as many aircraft movements can be handled as at London Airport?

Mr. Jenkins

There are a number of reasons why conditions are not wholly comparable. One is the weather. Another is the very much higher percentage of the traffic of London Airport than at United States airports, particularly O'Hare, which is international traffic, which leads to certain language difficulties with air traffic communications. At O'Hare only 2 per cent. of the traffic is international. It is also true that at O'Hare several more parallel runways are in use.

Mr. A. Royle

Will the Minister give the House an assurance that he has no intention of increasing the night movements into London Airport?

Mr. Jenkins

I have no intention of acting in a way which ignores the interests of those who are disturbed by noise around London Airport., about which I am very concerned and about which we have done something practical already.

Mr. Royle

In other words, no.

Mr. Lipton

Is the Minister aware that many people regard London Airport as one of the car parking airports? Is it correct that we are making more money out of the car-park charges than we are out of the aircraft themselves?

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not think that that arises on this Question.

Mr. Maude

Can the Minister say whether the planned increase from 48 movements an hour to 64 will do more than keep pace with the estimated increase in traffic requirements? Will there, in fact, be an increase which will have any effect on the need or otherwise for a third London airport?

Mr. Jenkins

I fear that this increase will have no such effect. The need for a third London airport remains equally urgent.