asked the Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been drawn to the letter issued by the Agent-General for Tasmania regarding Commander Burney's proposal for establishing an Imperial airship service; whether His Majesty's Government have come to any definite decision regarding this proposal; and whether, in the event of this or any other similar scheme being adopted, it will be stipulated that the Air Ministry shall maintain adequate technical control?
I am familiar with the letter referred to by my hon. Friend, and have been in close communication with the Agent-General of Tasmania in regard to Commander Burney's proposal for establishing an Imperial Airship Service. Although I am unable at this stage to make any statement regarding the financial aspect of the scheme, Commander Burney has been informed that, in the opinion of the Air Council, his scheme constitutes a notable advance on previous proposals of this kind, and that if certain additional safeguards are provided, it offers reasonable prospect of satisfactory operation between India and this country. This statement is subject to the definite qualification that the commercial success of an undertaking depending upon the regular use of airships as a means of transport must, at present, be highly speculative. In the event of this or any other similar scheme being adopted, the question of adequate technical control by the Air Ministry will receive full consideration.