HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc391-2
1. Mr. David Steel

asked the Minister of Aviation how many passengers on scheduled flights were diverted from Turn-house Airport, Edinburgh, in 1964 on account of cross-winds; and how this figure compares with that for 1954.

3. Mr. Buchanan-Smith

asked the Minister of Aviation when an adequate second runway will be provided at Turn-house Airport, Edinburgh.

11. Mr. Monro

asked the Minister of Aviation whether Turnhouse Airport will be provided with a new long runway on the alignment of the prevailing wind.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Roy Jenkins)

Between 5,000 and 6,000; no records are available for 1954 but as the aircraft then in use could land on either of the two runways, the number must thave been very small.

Four out of every five diversions and cancellations at Turnhouse last year were for reasons other than cross-winds, such as bad visibility, which would not be affected by the provision of a new runway. I do not think, therefore, that such a project estimated to cost £2 million to £3 million, is justified at present, but as I have told the Edinburgh Corporation I will keep the matter under review.

Mr. Steel

In view of the importance of this airfield to the whole economy of south-east Scotland, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman had discussions with his colleagues in the Scottish Office in relation to the Scottish National Plan which we are expecting next month? Can the right hon. Gentleman hold out any realistic hope to us that he will alter the policy of his predecessors and give this matter the necessary priority?

Mr. Jenkins

I have given great consideration to this matter. We have discussed it with Edinburgh Corporation and we have been in touch with the Scottish Office about it. I do not rule this out and I am sure that there will be a second runway in due course.

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

As this is the fastest growing airport in Britain, will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that what is needed is a definite starting date and not just a decision in principle?

Mr. Jenkins

I accept that, but at present the cost of servicing the capital on this runway would amount to £30–£40 for every person whose diversion was saved. This is a very substantial cost.

Mr. Monro

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that most cross-wind landings cause additional strain on the pilot and, particularly, cause strain to the airframe? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell me what percentage of the landings at Turn-house are made in cross-winds?

Mr. Jenkins

Such a percentage would not be meaningful unless one knew how much cross-wind, and the speed of the wind, but I have no reason to think that there are technical difficulties about the landings carried out. One per cent. of total landings are diverted because of cross-winds.