Northolt Airport (Traffic Control)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th June 1949.

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Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield 12:00 am, 29th June 1949

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation if he is aware of the delays caused to incoming and outgoing airliners at Northolt airport; how these delays were incurred; and what steps are being taken to remedy the situation.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

Yes, Sir. There were unusually severe delays to aircraft movements at Northolt during a spell of instrument flight rule conditions on 14th June, the day after new procedures were introduced in the Metropolitan control zone. Advantage has been taken of the experience gained in instrument flight rule conditions since the system was inaugurated to introduce certain modifications, and this process will continue as necessary.

Photo of Sir Arthur Harvey Sir Arthur Harvey , Macclesfield

Is the Parliamentary Secretary now satisfied that in future these delays will not occur? Is he also satisfied that as a result of the alteration in the control system in regard to the stacking of aircraft a good safety margin is now given?

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

I hope we shall never be satisfied until we reach perfection, which will take a long time. We are satisfied, in regard to organisation and procedure, that the slight element of risk which previously existed, because of the proximity of the two airports, has been eliminated. With the progressive use of the new procedure, I hope that delays will be reduced.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Civil Aviation how many aircraft were delayed in the week commencing 13th June at Northolt airport by the new system of air traffic control and for what total period; and what are the comparable figures for the week commencing 19th June.

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate details in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Photo of Mr James Hutchison Mr James Hutchison , Glasgow Central

May I, nevertheless, ask whether this system of traffic control is intended only for Northolt, or whether it is being installed elsewhere?

Photo of Mr George Lindgren Mr George Lindgren , Wellingborough

No, Sir. This system has been dictated by the close proximity of the two airports, London and Northolt.

Following are the details:

BROAD ANALYSIS OF TRAFFIC MOVEMENTS AT NORTHOLT AIRPORT FOR WEEKS COMMENCING—
Prior to introduction of modified system of air traffic controlSubsequent to introduction of modified system of air traffic control
Week commencing 6.6.49Week commencing 13.6.49Week commencing 20.6.49
Total Movements
*IFR Take Off155119156
Landing91111100
†VFR Take Off406429382
Landing453439432
Grand Total1,1051,0981,070
Number of Aircraft delayed
*IFR Take Off1147399
Landing808781
Total delayed194160180
Prior to introduction of modified system of air traffic controlSubsequent to introduction of modified system of air traffic control
Week commencing 6.6.49Week commencing 13.6.49Week commencing 20.6.49
Mean Delay (delayed aircraft)
Take Off4¼ mins.12 mins.4 mins.
Landing3 mins.14½ mins.5½ mins.
Aggregate Delay
Take Off8 hrs.14½ hrs.6½ hrs.
Landing4 hrs.21 hrs.7½ hrs.
Total Delay12 hrs.35½ hrs.14 hrs.
Longest Delay
Take Off40 mins.59 mins.41 mins.
Landing30 mins.70 mins.48 mins.
Total time when IFR was in operation28½ hrs.30 hrs.44½ hrs.
Percentage of IFR aircraft delayed79%70%70%
Average Delay (delayed air-aircraft)3¾ mins.13½ mins.4½ mins.
Percentage of total movements delayed18%15%17%
* IFR=Instrument Flight Rules.
† VFR=Visual Flight Rules.
N.B.—These figures may be subject to minor adjustments.