HC Deb 12 July 1965 vol 716 cc31-2

Mr. Costain (by Private Notice) asked the Minister of Aviation whether he will make a statement about the accident at Lympne Airport yesterday.

The Minister of Aviation (Mr. Roy Jenkins)

Yes, Sir. At 5.33 p.m. yesterday afternoon an Avro748 operated by Skyways Coach Air Ltd. crashed on landing at Lympne Airport. The aircraft overturned, but, fortunately, none of the 48 passengers and three crew was seriously injured. Officers of my accident inspectorate are now carrying out an investigation, and I am sure the House would not expect me to say anything which might prejudge the result of it.

I am equally sure the House will join with me in expressing sympathy to those concerned in what must have been a most alarming incident.

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Costain

While thanking the Minister for that reply, and expressing the sympathy of the House to all those concerned, may I ask whether he realises that this is the first accident which has happened in this service, which has been operating for 10 years?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, Sir. I am aware that the operator has operated this service for that period without mishap.

Mr. Rankin

Will my right hon. Friend say how long the Avro748 has been in service?

Mr. Jenkins

I think that it has been in service on this route since 1961.

Sir A. V. Harvey

When considering the matter, will the Minister look at the suitability of Lympne airfield, 500 to 600 feet above sea level, in bad weather conditions?

Mr. Jenkins

Yes, Sir. I will certainly consider that point in conjunction with other matters which will be brought forward by the accident investigation team.

Mr. Rankin

I asked my right hon. Friend how long this aircraft had been in service, not how long it had been in service on this route.

Mr. Jenkins

I think that this aircraft was, in fact, the first of this type to be in service, so that the answer to both those questions would be the same.