HC Deb 29 May 1968 vol 765 cc1828-9
24. Mr. Onslow

asked the President of the Board of Trade what action he has taken to implement the findings of his Departmental inquiry into air safety matters.

Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

As my right hon. Friend has already told the House, the Report of the Special Safety Review contains a variety of findings which call for study and action by a number of different persons, including operators. We have already acted on a number of the recommendations which most directly concern the Board of Trade, including those about reorganisation within the Board. We are studying the other recommendations.

Mr. Onslow

What action is the Board of Trade taking to strengthen its staff on the air safety side, possibly by economising elsewhere? Are we likely to be able to have a full debate on this before the Summer Recess?

Mr. Mallalieu

I should certainly be prepared to consult my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House on the last point. We are already increasing the numbers of flight operations inspectors, flight examiners and so on, and we are getting very near our proper complement.

Mr. Roy Hughes

Is my hon. Friend having a close look at the working conditions of cabin staff of aircraft? Apparently various health hazards are involved which could affect safety matters.

Mr. Mallalieu

Some of these points were brought out in the Review. We are looking at them very closely.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Has the hon. Gentleman any information about possible mergers among the smaller independents, a point which was brought out in the Report?

Mr. Mallalieu

Not so far, Sir.

Mr. Robert Howarth

Is my hon. Friend aware that I was disappointed with his answer to my suggestion that the first step he might take is to call a conference of all operators to discuss the Report? Will he reconsider his decision and consider calling an early conference of all the people very closely involved?

Mr. Mallalieu

I shall certainly look at that again.