HC Deb 04 May 1966 vol 727 cc1617-8
30. Mr. Lubbock

asked the Minister of Transport what application for sanction of capital expenditure she has received for constructing an underground line between the Gloucester Road air terminal and London Airport.

Mr. Swingler

None, Sir. But the London Transport Board is discussing with the Department and with other interested authorities the possibility of extending the Piccadilly line to London Airport.

Mr. Lubbock

What would be the purpose of that? Anybody who wanted to come via the Piccadilly line from London Airport into the centre of London would have to take a stopping train. It would be a much longer journey than by bus. Does he really think that at the beginning of the 1970s, when 490-seat jets will be arriving at London Airport and the traffic will have doubled beyond what it is at present, buses are the most suitable means of getting passengers to the centre of London?

Mr. Swiurigler

There are several proposals which we have to consider. All of them involve very substantial expenditure. There has been very substantial expenditure on the M4 in order to try to speed up transit to London Airport. We are not excluding any proposals. We are considering this proposal together with other proposals, including a monorail, for overground speed of transit and shall arrive at decisions shortly.

Sir Ian Orr-Ewing

Will the hon. Gentleman make sure that the Minister of Aviation and other members of the Cabinet are made aware that, if we have to buy 490-seat American jet transport aircraft for civil purposes, it is not just the cost of the aircraft but the cost of alterations to the international airports of this country and, above all, to the road and rail services to these international airfields which should be taken into account as well as the customers' choice?

Mr. Swingler

Of course, this is a mattter which we will take into account.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Will my hon. Friend give very careful attention to the advantages of a rail connection and perhaps study the experience of Brussels in this regard?

Mr. Swingler

We are interested in the experience of other countries. As I say, there are these alternative proposals which have varying merits. It is not at all an easy matter to make a choice between them.

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