HC Deb 05 April 1971 vol 815 cc9-10
11. Mr. Leslie Huckfield

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make a further statement about the effect of Linesman/Mediator on the reduction of air traffic congestion.

Mr. Noble

Operational experience to date has confirmed that the traffic handling capacity of the Mediator system as introduced on 1st February is superior to that of the previous systems which it has replaced. There is no doubt that the new system will help to minimise traffic congestion and that later stages will bring further benefit.

Mr. Huckfield

That exceeds the normal evasive answer which I am given by the Minister. Is he not aware that, far from reducing air traffic congestion delays, there has been an increasing of delays which have been occasioned by far more than operating with only one runway? Is he also aware that the system hitherto has been saved only by the fact that the French air traffic controllers have been imposing delays? Has he, as yet, had a report of the meeting on Thursday, 25th March, between the air traffic controllers and the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators? Will he not now accept that, because this system is still not working perfectly, many Easter holidaymakers will have to face delays precisely because of this system, which will, of course, increase the noise which he was trying to throw away recently?

Mr. Noble

I have not yet had the report from the Guild of Air Pilots, but although, as I have said in earlier replies, in the first days of this there were troubles, the indications today are that they are overcome and that improvement is apparent. I do not believe that it could cause any extra delay over the Easter holiday. I certainly hope that it will not.