asked the Secretary of State for Air whether he is aware of the serious dissatisfaction which exists among the managerial staff of the British Overseas Airways Corporation"; that this organisation is, from lack of suitable aircraft in sufficient numbers, being prevented from playing its proper part in the important sphere of war transport and is, at the same time, being placed under grave handicaps for the future; and whether he can undertake to give consideration to this branch of the war effort?
No, Sir. I am not aware of such dissatisfaction as my hon. Friend alleges. I am sure that those responsible for the direction of the British Overseas Airways Corporation realise that it has been necessary for the B.O.A.C. to accept and operate for their war-time tasks a number of aircraft designed for other purposes. The question of the production and allocation of aircraft for transport purposes is kept under constant review, including the particular needs of routes operated by the B.O.A.C.
Does the right hon. baronet realise that, if the answer to the first part of the Question refers to the managerial staff, as opposed to the directors, he is grossly misinformed? Does he now recognise that air transport is not merely a civil activity but is an important branch of the war effort?
Certainly, it is a most important branch of the war effort, and no one at the head of a Service Department can possibly fail to realise that. The important question that you have to consider when deciding whether aircraft should be bomber or transport aircraft is which kind will enable us to win the war most quickly.
No, Sir. I think the only consideration which must guide me must be, not the opinion of this or that individual employed by the Corporation, but the needs of the war.