HL Deb 26 November 1947 vol 152 cc927-8

My Lords, I beg to ask His Majesty's Government the first question standing on the Order Paper in my name.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether before the recent tour of the Secretary of State for Civil Aviation, an estimate of the ultimate cost in money and petrol in terms of dollars was known, and considered; and what were the reasons why the ordinary air line service was not used.]


My Lords, the cost of my noble friend's recent tour of duty was, of course, ascertained in advance. As the scheduled trunk services are operated to capacity a special aircraft would in any case have had to be arranged, as is done from time to time when traffic exceeds capacity. It is noteworthy, however, that, whereas the chartered aircraft travelled the whole of the route of the tour, a scheduled service would not have done so. While it is difficult to make a precise calculation as to comparative costs, it is clear that such an extensive tour covering upwards of 32,500 miles on main routes, so full of public engagements and needing adequate allowance for the examination of important civil aviation problems en route, the attendance at numerous Governmental and official conferences, the inspection of facilities both for flying boat and land air services, and many other matters affecting air services provided both by British and associated companies, as well as successful negotiations involving important possible United Kingdom contracts, could not possibly have been carried out except by chartered aircraft affording the necessary flexibility of programme in regard to routes and times.

I should perhaps add that my noble friend, as soon as the official functions for which Lady Nathan had accepted an invitation were over, arranged for her to return from Hong Kong by scheduled service at his own expense; in addition to which he met to the full all extra expense involved by his son accompanying him on the tour.

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