HL Deb 08 March 1989 vol 504 cc1476-7

2.45 p.m.

Lord Campbell of Croy asked Her Majesty's Government

Whether they are encouraging the installation of an advanced system of special computers to help solve the problems of air traffic control in the United Kingdom and Western Europe.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Transport (Lord Brabazon of Tara)

My Lords, the Government fully support the work of the Civil Aviation Authority on advanced air traffic control systems. The UK is playing a leading role within ICAO and Eurocontrol in carrying forward developments in this field internationally.

Lord Campbell of Croy

My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply. Does he agree that the present system cannot be regarded as satisfactory when breakdowns still occur at West Drayton causing chaos and long delays at Heathrow for the rest of the day? That happened again only last month—on 17th February.

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I agree with my noble friend. My Answer looks rather further forward than next year. I am pleased to be able to tell the House that the new computer to be installed has been brought forward and should be in operation by next summer. That should alleviate the situation.

Lord Ezra

My Lords, will the noble Lord chance his arm and tell us what kind of air traffic problems we will have this summer? Will they be as bad as last summer, or will the position be somewhat better?

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I do not wish to make too firm a prediction at this stage, but I very much hope that there will be some improvement. The CAA and National Air Traffic Services have made proposals for small improvements this summer and a number of European initiatives should also come to fruition.