HL Deb 09 July 1947 vol 150 cc253-6

My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government the following question, of which I have given them private notice: Whether they have any statement to make as to the airfields to be taken over for civil purposes.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Viscount for giving me the opportunity to make this statement. Your Lordships will remember that in the White Paper on British Air Services published in December, 1945, it was announced that the State would own and operate the aerodromes used by regular

Locality. Aerodrome. Remarks.
Aberdeen Dyce Already in use by regular services.
Anglesey Valley Diversionary airport.
Barra Barra
Barrow Barrow
Belfast Nutts Corner Already in use by regular services.
Benbecula. Benbecula Already in use by regular services.
Blackpool Squires Gate Already in use by regular services.
Birmingham Elmdon
Bournemouth Hurn
Brighton, Hove and Worthing. Shoreham
Bristol Lulsgate Bottom Whitchurch will continue to be available at any rate for a time.

air transport services. The selection of suitable sites for these aerodromes is and will continue to be a long and difficult task. It has been and is being undertaken in close consultation with British European Airways with the object of providing for the country a planned network of air services designed to serve the nation's needs.

A preliminary list of aerodromes outside the London area, which area needs to be considered separately, has now been prepared together with the names of the main towns which each aerodrome is intended to serve. Many of the aerodromes will be used on a joint basis with the Service departments and aircraft manufacturers. With your Lordships' permission I will arrange for this list to be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Much work has to be done to many of the aerodromes in the list before they can be ready for the operation of regular air services, and, in addition, it will of course be necessary, where this has not already been done, to extend to them the network of radio and air traffic control services.

The object is to provide safe and regular services and not to rush aerodromes and aircraft into ill-prepared use. Services, when they are introduced, must be dependable and, generally speaking, those which fill a social or commercial need that other forms of transport do not satisfy, must be introduced first. Bearing these facts in mind, together with the shortages of manpower and materials, particularly for building purposes, it would be unwise to attempt to indicate a date by which the whole of these aerodromes will have been brought into use, but the work will be pressed ahead on a properly integrated plan.

The following is the list:

Locality. Aerodrome. Remarks.
Cardiff (1) Pengam Moors Pengam Moors will continue to be used for the ferry services across the Bristol Channel.
(2) Llandow
Campbeltown Machrihanish Already in use by regular services.
Carlisle Great Orton Crosby is being used temporarily by regular services.
Edinburgh Turnhouse Already in use by regular services.
Glasgow and Clydeside Renfrew Already in use by regular services.
Hull Catfoss
Inverness Dalcross Longman aerodrome is being used at present by regular services but transfer to Dalcross will be made as soon as practicable.
Isle of Wight Ryde
Islay Port Ellen Already in use by regular services.
Kirkwall Hatston Already in use by regular services.
Leeds and Bradford Yeadon Subject to further technical investigation showing that the aerodrome can be improved to the necessary standard.
Liverpool Speke Already in use by regular services.
Manchester Ringway Already in use by regular services.
Newcastle and North-East England. New site Croft is intended for temporary use pending the development of a new site. The site provisionally selected is at Boldon, south of the projected Tyne Tunnel. It lies, however, on coal-bearing land and further technical investigation is necessary before the selection of the site can be confirmed.
North Uist Sollas
Nottingham Tollerton
Orkneys See below.
Penzance Culdrose St. Just aerodrome is now in use by regular services and will continue to be so used until a transfer to Culdrose is possible.
Perth/Dundee Errol
Plymouth Harrowbeer The permanent use of the aerodrome is subject to Parliamentary approval in view of Commoner's rights.
Portsmouth Portsmouth
Prestwick Prestwick Already in use for regular services.
Scilly Isles St. Mary's Already in use for regular services.
Sheffield and Doncaster Doncaster
Shetlands Sumburgh Already in use for regular services.
Southampton Eastleigh Already in use for regular services.
Stornoway Stornoway Already in use for regular services.
Swansea Fairwood Common
Tiree Tiree Already in use for regular services.
Weston-super-Mar[...] Weston Already in use for regular services.
Wick Wick Already in use for regular services.
York York

The provision of air services to additional places, as, for example, the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, including the Orkneys inter-island services, is contemplated, but detailed surveys of the sites provisionally selected are necessary before their suitability can be determined. Some of the landing grounds used before the war are much too small for medium-type aircraft, which will provide a faster and more efficient service, and the best means of serving these places requires further examination.

The introduction of air services direct from certain aerodromes in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to the Continent is intended as aircraft become available and the aerodromes can be suitably improved and equipped.

Additional sites will be announced from time to time as their acquisition becomes necessary for further expansion of air services.