Imperial Air Services (Acceleration and Development).

Oral Answers to Questions — Aviation. – in the House of Commons on 14th November 1934.

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Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Manchester Platting

26.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he is taking any special steps to secure the best possible type of high-speed mail aeroplane by prize competition or other form of encouragement?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

It, would be premature to take any such action as that suggested by my hon. Friend until the position is clearer in regard to the far-reaching scheme of Imperial air transport development prepared by the Air Ministry, in consultation with the Post Office, some months ago and now under active discussion. He is presumably aware that in the United States, where air transport was originally developed primarily for the carriage of mails, the latest official policy is to combine mail with passenger traffic in order to secure additional sources of revenue.

Photo of Mr Alan Chorlton Mr Alan Chorlton , Manchester Platting

In view of the extraordinary results obtained in the London to Melbourne flight, on account of the prizes offered, cannot we expect similar results here if we offered prizes in the same way?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

It has not yet been decided whether it would be a good thing for commercial aviation to have mail carriers solely.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

27.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he will recommend an increase in the subvention to Imperial Airways conditional upon the introduction of night-flying through Africa and the shortening of the air journey to Cape Town?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

As explained in my answers to the hon. Members for Widnes (Mr. Robinson) and the Hallam Division of Sheffield (Mr. L. Smith) on the 1st and 7th of this month, the whole question of accelerating our Imperial air services, whether by night flying or in other ways, has been under consideration for some time past, but I am not yet in a position to make a statement.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether the programme will be announced before the end of the year?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I cannot say definitely, but I hope so.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

28.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air what additional aircraft are under order by Imperial Airways; and whether he will recommend an increased subvention conditional upon an accelerated Empire air-service?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I understand that Imperial Airways have under consideration tenders for the construction of aircraft which will be larger and faster than any of their existing fleet. As regards the second part of the question, I would refer my hon. Friend to my previous reply.

Photo of Major Abraham Lyons Major Abraham Lyons , Leicester East

While thanking my right hon. Friend for the information, may I ask whether the details of the new aircraft under construction by Imperial Airways, Limited, will be announced at the same time or before the full programme which he has indicated?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

The details will be published.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

32.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether Imperial Airways, Limited, is under any obligation to His Majesty's Government to adopt the results of modern aeronautical development?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

The European and Indian Agreement of March, 1929, which runs for 10 years, provides for a depreciation rate of not less than 25 per cent. per annum for all aircraft employed on the service. The African agreement of October, 1930, which runs for 5 years only, required the Company to provide within three months new aircraft specially designed to meet the conditions of service in Central and South Africa.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

In any new agreement with Imperial Airways Limited will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the fact that many new aeronautical developments have been entirely neglected by this company; that, whereas retractable undercarriages are used by all other great lines, they have not a single machine with this device?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

I will bear that in mind.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

33.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has at any time received representations from Imperial Airways Limited to the effect that the financial support it received from His Majesty's Government was inadequate to permit of the increased flying speeds demanded by modern conditions; when such representations were made; and what was their substance?

Photo of Sir Philip Sassoon Sir Philip Sassoon , Hythe

The whole question of the right balance between technical and economic speeds is under constant discussion between the Air Ministry and the company, which has rendered any formal representations unnecessary to date.