HC Deb 17 March 1965 vol 708 cc264-6W
57. Mr. Horner

asked the Minister of Aviation what steps the Air Registration Board are taking to satisfy themselves that their requirements are being carried out by British United Airways, and in particular the requirement of Air Navigation Order No. 60.

58 and 59. Mr. Julius Silverman

asked the Minister of Aviation (1) what action is being taken by the Air Registration Board to check the safety of British United Airways aircraft during the present trade dispute;

(2) if he is aware that, during the present official dispute, British United Airways has been deprived of the majority of its skilled maintenance and technical personnel; and what reports he has received from the Air Registration Board as to the safety of British United Airways aircraft in consequence.

60. Mr. Herbert Butler

asked the Minister of Aviation whether, during the present trade dispute in which the British United Airways is involved with its maintenance and technical personnel and its supervisory staff, in view of the inadequate standards of maintenance which result, he will ensure that this company is not used for the transport of British troops or parties of children.

Mr. Stonehouse

The present dispute affects only British United Airways aircraft maintained at Gatwick. Since its start my Department and the Air Registration Board have been conscious of its safety implications. The maintenance arrangements for British United Airways aircraft have accordingly been under constant scrutiny and the Board has deployed four additional surveyors at Gatwick.

Safety regulations (as described in the Board's Circular No. 60) require that the Board shall be satisfied that, among other things, there are enough skilled engineers for maintenance. These regulations are being strictly enforced, and the Board has approved arrangements at Gatwick for only minor maintenance on the VCIO and maintenance on Viscounts up to but not including Check 2. The Board is satisfied technically that the organisation is adequate for these tasks, and there are no safety grounds on which the Board or my Department should prevent flights in aircraft which are being maintained under these arrangements. The Board will continue its scrutiny of the maintenance organisation and its inspection of aircraft.

Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation what periodic checks are being made by the Air Registration Board into the maintenance facilities of British United Airways, to ensure that the standards are maintained while the company is engaged in an official trade dispute involving almost all its maintenance staff and the majority of its supervisory and technical personnel.

Mr. Stonehouse

I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave today to the hon. Members for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Horner), Birmingham, Aston (Mr. Julius Silverman) and Hackney, Central (Mr. Herbert Butler).