§ 6.12 p.m.
§ LORD BRAYE rose to ask Her Majesty's Government if any decision has as yet been taken to have some modified form of fog dispersal unit at London or Gatwick Airport, and to inquire if the results of experiments with this type of equipment have proved to be in any way functional. The noble Lord said: My Lords, this is not the first time I have asked this Question in your Lordships' House. In fact I last asked the Question on June 24, 1959, when I received the reply from Her Majesty's Government that experiments were being conducted at Marham and that we should eventually hear of some results. At the moment there is no system of fog dispersal at London Airport and none at Gatwick.961
§ I will be as brief as possible, but I should like to divide my remarks into two parts. I am fully aware that the Government and those concerned with developments at the Air Ministry are very interested in this new electronic landing device. I am naturally not going to press the noble Earl for any secrets, but we know that all electronic apparatus fitted into an aircraft can fail. Several airline operators and people I have spoken to, among them experienced captains of aircraft, have said, "It is all very fine to have this electronic device, but if it goes wrong what happens?
§ There are to-day, however, firms of English chemists who have developed a form of spray (about which we have heard before in this House, because I think the noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, referred to it last year) which can be sprayed into the fog and which has the effect of freezing the fog. That, if it can be used, has great advantages over the heat form of dispersal, which would be a modified form of the old war-time F.I.D.O. The heat form has two great disadvantages. One is that it is extremely expensive, even the modified form; and the second is that the nozzles blowing up the burning oil are a source of danger to landing aircraft, especially if an aircraft happens to go off the runway. I should like to hear from the noble Earl, Lord Bathurst, when he replies, what the Air Ministry think of the chemical method, whether it is very expensive and whether there is a possibility of its being used.
§ I should like just for one moment to remind your Lordships of the delays caused by fog. As you know, last summer was the hottest, longest and driest summer we have had almost in living memory, with the result that there was practically no fog—there were a few delays, very few—and that the winter was a most exceptional one, and is not likely, I am afraid, to be repeated, certainly not this year. I would just remind you of the figures which I take it are more or less average. From November 1, 1958, until March 24, 1959, London Airport was affected for 52 days by fog. Over a similar period Gatwick Aerodrome was affected for 53 days. That means a considerable financial loss to air operators and a considerable inconvenience to passengers, many of whom are engaged either on business or on important work for the 962 Government. If something could be done, in addition to the use of the electronic device, or until the electronic device has proved itself to be a success, at London or Gatwick or any other airport which the Air Ministry might think suitable—so long as we have one airport in England at which we can get down in the fog—it would be a very great asset to the many passengers who nowadays travel by air.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, I think we should congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Braye, on his pertinacity in this matter, and I hope that it will have some effect on the Government, and indeed, on the Minister of Aviation whoever he may "happen to be when the tests are completed. I feel that this matter has gone on long enough, and that the decision ought to be taken within the next few months anyway, because there have been very clear demands from certain of the operators that they would like such a system. I fully appreciate, as I am sure does the noble Lord, Lord Braye, the disadvantages of having such a system. Many of us, of course, are familiar with F.I.D.O. from the war days, and it is perhaps sad that nothing more dramatic, more effective or more convenient is yet available. But I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Braye, that the development of a purely "blind" landing system, using an electronic device, is not going to be an answer, at least for some of the operators. For even if it is perfected, there will still be, for many years to come, a large number of aircraft for which it will be uneconomic to have this sort of equipment.
Here I think it is worth while differentiating between long-range and worldwide operators like B.O.A.C., for whom such a system is probably not nearly so necessary, and who, so far as I know, are not particularly pressing for it. There are many airports in the world which they have to visit where they will not have such help, and it is not quite so important to them. Furthermore, their route structure is greater and longer diversion is more possible. Bat when it comes to European operators, and particularly British European Airways, this matter is of really great importance. If it is important to them it is important to 963 us. I am sure that many of your Lordships have had the frustration of being delayed by fog. We shall not have it when we go away on holiday next week, but if we go away on holiday around Christmas in the mind of every one of us will be the uncertainty as to whether or not we shall get off on the day and, furthermore, whether we shall get back on the day we plan.
For British European Airways it would be possible for them to improve their effectiveness by quite a significant percentage if these delays could be prevented. I am not, therefore, arguing (and I know that the noble Lord would agree; and particularly the noble Earl, Lord Gosford, who had to deal with this matter on a previous occasion) that this is purely a question of safety; it is largely a question of economics. It is economics of a kind that affect the convenience of the travelling public, and it affects the efficiency of the operations of these European carriers, whether they be British European Airways or some of the independents. It is not likely that in the foreseeable future—at least not for many years—they will be able to rely on some electronic device. Even when British European Airways have the D.H.121, which may be able to carry this device, they will not be able to use it. B.O.A.C. will be in a different position. They will be using the V.C.10, which will carry these devices. But even so, the point that has been made by some people (I know that there are arguments the other way) and has been put strongly by some operators, is that in the last resort the pilot likes to see what he is landing on.
I remember a foggy day last Christmas when I landed in the only aircraft to land at London Airport. It was on the same day that the then Turkish Prime Minister had a disastrous accident. We did not see the runway until about four seconds before we touched down. It was an uncomfortable experience. It was not made any more comfortable by the pilot's remark that he was going to "have a stab at it" and hoped to land. But in a matter of this kind I think it would be possible to increase the confidence of the travelling public, even though safety is not the primary factor. I think that in order to do it we have to rely on 964 F.I.D.O. From the information that the noble Earl, Lord Gosford, gave last year, the possibility of freezing fog in England is rather a small one, because generally our fogs are above freezing temperature. Furthermore, as the noble Lord, Lord Braye, and others have said, F.I.D.O. would work in foggy conditions in this country because there are not the high winds to make it difficult.
It seems extraordinary that, eighteen years after it was developed in the war—and I and other noble Lords have seen it burning on an airfield—we have not yet been able to make this system available. The reason we have not got it is that the Government and the operators cannot come to an agreement on the cost. What we are asking the Government is that when they have completed the trials—and I understand that a new test is to be conducted very shortly—they will get down to it, not only with British European Airways but with other operators, through whatever organisation is available, to see whether London Airport can be supplied with a F.I.D.O. system. On the question of cost, I do not think it is fair for the Government to argue that, since economics are the primary factor, the cost of such a system must be wholly borne by the airlines. They provide any number of other facilities, and although this is, in a sense, a necessity, it is none the less an extension of the type of facility that is provided, and which we look to the Ministry of Aviation to provide in this country. So I hope that we shall have a sympathetic reply from the noble Earl, and that something will result from the initiative of the noble Lord, Lord Braye.
§ 6.24 p.m.
§ LORD OGMORE
I should like to commend the noble Lord, Lord Braye, on his persistence in putting down this Question year after year while never getting a very satisfactory Answer from the Government. I think it is a good thing that the Question comes before Parliament repeatedly from time to time because it is quite intolerable that delays should be caused to passengers and freight through their being put down at some remote airfield because one of the main airfields of the country has been put out of action by fog. The figures that he gave are most illuminating. He spoke of 52 days in 965 the case of London Airport, and I think he said 53 days in the case of Gatwick. Those most illuminating figures show the extent of the problem.
We are now in the air age, and it is essential that passengers who want to come here should come to the airfield upon which they expect to land. It is no good booking a ticket to come to London Airport and, if one has an appointment or a series of appointments in the City, to expect one with any sort of graciousness to find oneself landed near Glasgow or somewhere like that. That does happen. I myself have been put down at a most awkward time at Hurn, near Bournemouth, and it took me hours to get up to London. It really is not good enough. This is not a matter only for the British Government; all Governments are concerned in this. I think it is something which has not received the amount of priority which should have been given to it.
The solution of the noble Lord, Lord Braye, is, of course, one which deals with either the freezing of fog or the dispelling of fog by means of heat. This is a technical matter upon which I cannot pretend to be able to give any useful opinion, but I believe that, so far as dispelling fog by heat is concerned, it is not only, as the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, has suggested, a question of expense, although it is a big expense. It is also a question of the impact upon the minds of the passengers. It is all very well for the Royal Air Force to be prepared to land on what appears to be a sea of flames, but it is by no means to be expected that the average type of passenger—old ladies, little children, nervous business men, and so on—will look with equal favour and with the same sort of calmness upon landing in such conditions.
While I extend every encouragement to Lord Braye in his pursuit on this problem, and obviously, if we can get some means of fog dispelling by which the pilot can see where he is going to land, it is an excellent thing, I believe that one must expect to go for better methods of ground to air control—that is to say, means by which the people on the ground can guide the aircraft in. By this time, with research which is 966 going on the whole time, and with the great achievements in the electronics field, we should get answers which might lead to "blind" landings. The Ministry of Aviation, at least when I was connected with it, had its own aircraft, and they used to go up at such times as other aircraft were grounded—that was the whole object for which they were used. They went up in order to test these methods. It was most encouraging to go up with them because you always knew that you would get down, because they came in at almost "zero" visibility.
As I understand it, the pilot wishes, first of all, to know where he is in relation to the ground, and, secondly, how high he is as he comes in to land. I think that, so far as this matter is concerned, it was a great pity that other countries did not accept the Decca system. It is a remarkable system. It is either a Canadian or a British system; at all events, it was a system which was developed within the British Commonwealth. But purely for commercial reasons, or for nationalistic reasons, the United States persuaded other countries at the International Convention to vote against it, and to vote in favour of a system which was not nearly so good. I think that is something which we should put on record. When it comes to safety in the air, it is appalling that these nationalistic and commercial considerations should be brought in in any way. I have had more than one personal experience of the Decca system. I have flown with it and have seen how it works. It is remarkable. One can actually go down the Thames Valley and see on the map, as it were, exactly where one is at any moment, almost to ten feet or something of that kind. That, combined with a better ground-air system by which the pilot knows his exact height as he is "dropping in" to land, would go a long way to solve this problem. I shall be very interested to hear what the noble Earl has Ito say and, if he does not give a good answer, I shall be interested to know what the new Minister of Aviation will propose to do. While congratulating him upon his appointment I would urge him to regard this as one of the very vital questions which he should bear in mind in his new office.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ LORD MERRIVALE
My Lords, as a little more than a year ago I took part in a similar debate initiated by my noble friend Lord Braye, I feel it right that I should add a few words of comment today. My noble friend Lord Gosford, as the Government spokesman at the time, admitted that the avoidance of diversion to airports other than the scheduled destination would be a great convenience to air passengers and aircraft operators. I go further than that; I think it is not only a question of convenience but that in many cases it will represent a considerable saving to the aircraft operators. Last year I quoted a figure of £400 as the extra cost involved in diverting one aircraft. But one should consider, also, the extra cost that is involved with regard to maintenance of an aircraft; for when an aircraft is diverted problems of maintenance arise. Suitable facilities may not exist at the airfield to which the aircraft is diverted, and I feel that now that British European Airways have that very fine £7 million engineering base at London Airport they would certainly encourage such a scheme. Also, although I cannot speak with knowledge, I should imagine that it is their intention that the whole of their fleet of 116 aircraft should be maintained there, so that if aircraft are diverted it means extra cost.
Further, when aircraft are diverted other schedules are put out, not only the schedule and timing of the aircraft which is diverted. When travelling abroad I have found on a number of occasions that the aircraft I was to have boarded was not available because the whole of the traffic planning had been put out as a result of delay or diversion of some aircraft. That, again, means extra cost to the operator.
Apart from the extra cost, there is also the aspect of the ill-feeling which that breeds among passengers—first, the passenger who is travelling on the aircraft which is diverted, and secondly, the passenger who is delayed because no aircraft is available to take him where he had intended to go on a particular day at a particular time. I believe that during the winter months a number of would-be passengers hesitate to book a passage by air in view of the possible delay and the inconvenience that they might be caused because of such delay.
968 That was a point mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton. Delay may involve extra cost to them, or it may mean that they miss an appointment or find themselves landed somewhere else. I believe that fear of delay in the winter means that passengers often travel by other means of transport, so as to be sure of getting to their scheduled destination at the correct time.
During the course of the debate on June 24 last year, the noble Lord, Lord Brabazon of Tara, spoke, and I feel it would be in order for me to quote briefly from his remarks, because what he says with regard to aviation matters carries a fair amount of weight in this country. He said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 217, col. 230]:We have curious conditions in this country in relation to fog, because when we have a fog the conditions are calm: there is seldom a fog with a wind.Later he says:Consequently, it means that we need fit up, so to speak, only one runway.One runway would not involve such fantastically large expenditure. That is why I welcome this opportunity which has been given us to-day by my noble friend Lord Braye to ask the noble Earl whether he has any further information to give on the various methods which are being developed at the moment or on which research is being carried out. I have in mind particularly the method to which my noble friend Lord Braye referred to-day—the chemical process. I believe—and I think the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, would agree—that if chemicals can be sprayed in that way that would be preferable, from the passengers' point of view, to some method whereby heat is generated by means of burners along the runway.
I believe that there is another process, though I do not know the stage it has reached at the moment or whether any degree of success has been achieved with it. It is a process which was initiated by the Ministry of Civil Aviation in France. Possibly the noble Earl may have information upon that. It involves the use of ultrasonic waves. If that were successful it might prove a less costly way of tackling this problem than atomising liquids or burning some form of fuel. It may be, of course, that development in this country has been undertaken more on the lines of the 969 modified F.I.D.O. process, but I shall be pleased to hear from the noble Earl when he comes to reply whether Her Majesty's Government have any information with regard to the tests which have been made by British chemists. My noble friend Lord Braye referred to these tests, of which I am glad to hear, because if the facilities are available in this country, rather than abroad, that is most encouraging. If that is the case, then I trust the Government will give every possible facility to the development of such a chemical process.
As other noble Lords have mentioned, air travel is developing at a very rapid rate, and it is only right, therefore, that this question should be seriously considered by Her Majesty's Government, because feel that we are hindering the development of air travel to a certain extent if we are not providing facilities at our main airports, whether it be London Airport or Gatwick, for aircraft to land there in conditions of very poor visibility. In other words, I think that the air passengers of the future should be certain that, whatever the conditions of visibility are, they will land there at the prescribed time and on the prescribed date.
§ 6.41 p.m.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Braye, for bringing this Question before your Lordships again, and I am grateful to those of your Lordships who have stayed in the House to listen until the end of this debate, which is on a very technical subject. I should like us to bear two points in mind. Your Lordships have already mentioned that my noble friend Lord Gosford referred last year to the experiments with the F.I.D.O. device, which has been mentioned in pretty well every speech this evening. Since the noble Earl's speech, experiments and trials have been carried on with this new improved F.I.D.O. device, and we now know that this device will definitely clear—it is guaranteed to clear—intense fog effectively upon an aerodrome. That is a considerable advance upon the position that existed when my noble friend Lord Brave raised the point last year.
The second point, which has also been mentioned, is that we are not really considering points of safety. That is not the factor that will decide whether an 970 installation such as F.I.D.O. should be put at London Airport or (as my noble friend is asking about it in his Question) Gatwick Airport. But I think we can leave Gatwick out at this stage, as it is a very much smaller aerodrome.
By the international rules, no commercial aircraft can fly unless its flight plan states an alternative aerodrome that is free of fog, and it must be possible to divert an aeroplane to an alternative aerodrome if fog shuts down its stated destination. Otherwise, that aeroplane may not take off, and that results in the delays and frustrations and annoyances, to say the least, which your Lordships have mentioned. That is a world-wide rule accepted by world-wide air travellers, and is one of the disadvantages, if I may put it that way, of air travel to-day. It is an especial disadvantage to our two great national Corporations, because they have their maintenance headquarters stationed here in London. The point is regularity of an airliner at the beginning and ending of its scheduled flight; and, obviously, with so many flights beginning and ending in London, and with the maintenance requirements, this point is of especial interest to British Overseas Airways Corporation and British European Airways.
All your Lordships who have spoken have mentioned this delay and the expense and inconvenience. But none of your Lordships has mentioned the price of the ticket of the passenger, and there is no doubt that all airlines to-day are trying to compete in bringing down their charges to their passengers. The problem is to balance the expense of these delays, which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, and my noble friend Lord Merrivale, as well as others of your Lordships, so graphically described, against the undoubted expense of installing and operating a F.I.D.O. device such as I have already mentioned. A lot of advice was given in your Lordships' House yesterday as to how the taxpayers' money should be spent, and I hope that I am in line with the best of this advice when I say that it is the view of the Minister of Aviation that there must be a demand from the airlines for some F.I.D.O. system or some other such system to be installed at London Airport. I was most interested to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, that this 971 demand does in fact exist—perhaps it is very new information. My information is that there has been very little demand from the airline operators at London Airport, but perhaps he could let me know further details about it another time.
We want to know that these airlines, having demanded the system, will give some proof that they will pay a fair share of the installation charges, which in the case of London Airport would be in the region of £700,000; and that they will also pay their fair share of the charges for burning. As a result of these tests which my noble friend Lord Gosford mentioned, we can now say that it is approximately £280 for a landing and something in the region of £140 for a take-off.
We have also to consider the "auto" landing, which has been so graphically described by my noble friend Lord Braye and the noble Lords, Lord Shackleton and Lord Ogmore. There is no doubt that by the end of the decade "auto." landing devices of one sort or another, together with ground installations, will be available for the aeroplanes of that era. There will be supersonic airliners a little further away and just round the corner, and there is no doubt that they will have to be landed by some form of automatic device. I would, with due deference to the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, suspect that pilots and passengers would probably prefer to face the other way round (in other words, back to front) when coming in to land in such airliners. Nevertheless, I can well appreciate—and I think your Lordships have done so this evening—that, in spite of these automatic devices, it may be necessary for safety at that time, towards the end of the decade, to have some such system for dispersing intense fog, whether it be F.I.D.O. or whether it be an improvement upon that device.
The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, referred to the time and to the delay—and, indeed, that is the reason for my noble friend's Question. There have been heartbreaking delays over this improved F.I.D.O. system. As the noble Earl, Lord Gosford, told us, it was installed at Marham Royal Air Force Station, and there, after these delays, we have proved that the F.I.D.O. development 972 is the one and only device that is known for clearing fogs, the warm fogs in normally clear and still air, that are prevalent in this country. I should like to pay a tribute to the scientists and engineers of the Royal Air Force establishment and to all those who worked with them in most unpleasant circumstances, which I am sure noble Lords can appreciate, on the edge of a very cold aerodrome. Also, I should like to pay a tribute to the war-time inventor of the F.I.D.O. system and to those pilots who braved coming down to land under that system.
Enormous advances have been made. First, there are three lines of newly-designed burners, each 900 yards long; that is, the fuel lines are 900 yards long. The burners can be automatically ignited. They now burn fuel oil instead of petrol as in the old days. My noble friend Lord Braye will be interested to know that there is now no smoke at all. I cannot guarantee the position about smell, but there is no smoke, or precious little. No time is taken in warming up, which used to be a great drawback to the old F.I.D.O. system, and the fuel oil is safe in storage. In the very near future—next month—there will be a ground demonstration which airline operators will be invited to attend. I hope that any of your Lordships who can stimulate interest in the F.I.D.O. system will persuade the friends your Lordships may have in the air transport business to take an interest in these demonstration trials.
At these trials, all the logistics and the economics will be worked out. Then, fog tests will take place afterwards, when the fogs begin occurring at Marham, and the airline operators will have a chance to see how this new system works under actual landing conditions. I think your Lordships would wish me to pay some tribute to my right honourable friend for bringing these experiments to such an advanced stage of progress in spite of these drawbacks and delays which have been so heartbreaking; and I am quite certain, too, that your Lordships would want me, on your Lordships' behalf, to wish him well in the great new responsibilities that he has taken over from the office of our beloved Leader, to whom such warm tributes have been paid to-day. Did the noble Lord wish to say something?
§ LORD SHACKLETON
I merely wanted to ask the noble Earl which right honourable friend he was referring to.
I am referring now to my right honourable friend Mr. Duncan Sandys. Under his guidance, these tests are now coming to fruition—whether successful or not, as I shall describe, we shall have to wait and see. As I have explained, this is the only device known in the world which is guaranteed to work, and the eyes of the air transport industry are upon it, and especially the eyes of our friends in the United States and in France.
Now there are other methods. My noble friend Lord Braye and my noble friend Lord Merrivale have mentioned them—in fact, they mentioned them during the last debate. First, there are the chemical sprays; but unfortunately many of the chemicals used have proved to be corrosive to metal and rubber, and also to ground installations, so they are not altogether satisfactory. Also, there is great difficulty in making the spray nozzles, and so forth. In fact, there are a host of technical difficulties. However, experiments on these sprays are going on on a small scale. Then, one could have electrically-charged sprays. These sprays, which put an electric charge all over the area required, work in theory in a laboratory fog, but unfortunately they do not work in the field—or, at least, not so far. Then there is the liquid propane spray, which is especially known to my noble friend Lord Merrivale, and which is installed at Orly Aerodrome, in France. So far, it has been used operationally only three times. It had some considerable effect, but this liquid propane works only if the fog is under minus one degree Centigrade, and that is the reason why it is not suitable for clearing the usual fog in this country. On the other hand, of course F.I.D.O. will clear any fog, whether it is under minus one degree Centigrade or over. There are also disadvantages in the danger that exists in the storage, of liquid propane.
The noble Lord, Lord Merrivale, also mentioned this newest method of ultrasonic waves. Here again, this method will clear laboratory fogs, but when enormous quantities of ultra-sonic waves are shot about in the middle of a field they unfortunately have no effect whatsoever. According to my information, the idea 974 stems from the United States. It may be that there are parallel developments in France; but the idea comes from using ultra-sonic waves literally to knock the smoke particles out of an industrial chimney stack. That works, but it does not work when the same system is taken outside; and, for that reason, experiments have stopped in the United States.
My Lords, there are many other chemical devices, but they are all at only the laboratory theory stage, and I do not think that I need weary your Lordships with them now. However, I do assure my noble friend Lord Merrivale that my right honourable friend—that is, my new right honourable friend—has available to him all the most up-to-date knowledge on this subject throughout the world. Indeed, a lot of what I have said in this speech is based on a conference held at Boston in the United States at the beginning of this year, 1960.
In reply to the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, I should like to tell him—although I know that he already knows this—that London Airport has, in fact, the finest radar control and approach control system that there is in the world. I sympathise very much with what he said with regard to the Decca system; hut, of course, it is open to any operator to install that system if he so wishes. Also, of course, it is used by the Port of London Authority, and by all sorts of other dock and naval installations. But that does not help us to land.
§ LORD OGMORE
My Lords, I suggest that it does help to land, because it does tell you where you are when you are approaching the airfield. But the fact is that it has not been made international equipment. Any aircraft can have it, but it is not part of the international equipment. It was hoped that it would be standard equipment for all aircraft.
That is the fact, that it is not the international standard equipment, and I said that I sympathise with what the noble Lord has said. But, with regard to the positioning, there are, of course, wonderful schemes existing at London Airport to which I have already referred. It also has the best visual approach system in the world for bad weather; and that is the system under which I have no doubt the noble Lord, 975 Lord Shackleton, landed. For myself, I must say that, no matter how good it may be, it must be a very frightening experience.
§ LORD OGMORE
I do not want to interrupt the noble Earl unnecessarily, but I want to make it quite clear that I know that London Airport has the finest system in the world; but in this debate we are dealing with airports generally, of course, and not merely with London Airport. Therefore, although London Airport is so good, I can assure him I know of airports, not in this country, which are very bad.
There, the point is that there must be a diversion. I am sure no noble Lord would wish F.I.D.O. to be put at more than one, or perhaps two, airports in this country. I believe that the expense would be prohibitive. We are talking about London Airport, and that is the only airport which has a sufficiently large flow of traffic to enable us to persuade the operators to pay the extra landing charges, when we really find out what those charges are. I expect their way of thinking may be coming round to something on the lines on which the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, spoke.
§ THE EARL OF LUCAN
My Lords, when the noble Earl talks about expense, is it not a fact that the expense of the installation at London Airport would be considerably less than the cost of one aircraft?
I think that is very definitely so, my Lords, but this is a point for the operators. They must be shown that that is worth while. It is still more expenditure at a time when they are trying to lower their air fares. But it is quite true that aeroplanes are very expensive, as the noble Earl has indicated.
My Lords, I was speaking of the visual systems, and, although it really has nothing to do with F.I.D.O., I think it would interest your Lordships to know that, in competition with five other systems, the London Airport visual landing aids, or that system which is used at London Airport, has been recommended for adoption in America as the standard system on all their main commercial aerodromes.
976 In conclusion, my Lords, and to come back to F.I.D.O., I would say that there is no doubt that our system works. It now remains to test the economics and the logistics, very much in the light of what the noble Earl, Lord Lucan, has said. When, and only when, these problems—and there are plenty of operational problems, too, which I have not covered; there are plenty of them, but we believe that they can be got over—have been evalulated, and we think successfully, it will be for the airline operators, together with my right honourable friend, to decide whether it would be of commercial advantage to use the F.I.D.O. device in the exacting fields of the future of air transport. In conclusion, I want to thank the noble Earl for asking his Question.