HC Deb 29 April 1970 vol 800 cc1215-6
1. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he is satisfied with the trend of safety of British airlines operations, and, in particular with the safety performance of United Kingdom airline operators in 1969; and if he will make a statement.

The Minister of State, Board of Trade (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

We can never be satisfied while any element of risk remains, but I am glad to be able to say that the general trend towards improved safety in British airline operations is continuing and in 1969 no passengers were killed or seriously injured in British airline accidents.

Mr. Howarth

This is good news. Will my right hon. Friend say how the record compares with the record of foreign airline operators, particularly European operators?

Mr. Roberts

Because of different operating environments and wide variations in the types of operations undertaken and the lack of uniformity in the statistical coverage used by various countries, these comparisons are often of doubtful validity. Nevertheless, it would be fair to say that in both the independent and the nationalised sectors of the industry we have in the past few years improved our safety record and that that improvement is continuing.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Does the Minister think that any special action is now necessary in view of the concern at London Airport with aircraft coming in to land where there have been one or two incidents recently with the possibility of an actual collision between aircraft, which could be a very serious thing?

Mr. Roberts

I agree that such an accident would be extremely serious. So far our worst fears have not been realised, but we are constantly watching the position. I explained to the House at some length on an earlier occasion the very full procedures we have for reporting and for examining the results of reports, with a view constantly to improving the provisions for safety.

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