HC Deb 30 July 1954 vol 531 cc133-4W
Lieut.-Commander Baldock

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he has now come to any decision about the installation of F.I.D.O. at London Airport.

Mr. Profumo

Although no major engineering difficulties are expected in the construction of a high pressure F.I.D.O., the comparative lack of success achieved so far, in the United States of America, with the only existing full scale installation of this kind, has suggested that before installing a full-sized high pressure F.I.D.O., we should conduct further experiments with a short length of burner lines in order to arrive at the best possible layout and accurate information on running and maintenance costs. This should be done at an aerodrome where experiments, extensions and, if necessary, redesign of the layout could be made without interference to major civil operations. To this end, it is better that the first installation should not be at a civil aerodrome.

Only when accurate figures of the cost of clearing various degrees of fog have been ascertained, will civil operators be able to assess realistically the extent to which a F.I.D.O. at London Airport would be of economic value to them. The Royal Air Force has anyway an operational requirement for F.I.D.O. within Bomber Command. It has therefore been decided that these experiments shall be carried out at a service aerodrome to be selected by the Royal Air Force. My right hon. Friend does not propose to take any further action at London Airport until the R.A.F. installation has been constructed and the results of its tests are available. Discussions with the operators on charges have accordingly been postponed.