asked the Prime Minister if he will instruct the Minister of Aviation and the Secretary of State for air to expedite their negotiations, including those with European air authorities, for joint civil and military air traffic control and a Standard system of air movement notification, both in the British Isles and in Western Europe generally.
I have been asked to reply.
In the airways and controlled airspaces over the United Kingdom, which extend generally to 25,000 feet, there is close co-ordination of the control of civil and military aircraft. All civil and military aircraft flying the airways system in the United Kingdom are under the control of civil air traffic control centres. Aircraft crossing the airways do so under agreed procedures or radar control.
So far as concerns the upper airspace, I understand from my right hon. Friends that we are already in the process of setting up joint control and that this will be completed over the whole United Kingdom airspace in 1961. This has not yet been done in other European countries, but my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation is expecting to sign the Eurocontrol Convention on behalf of Her Majesty's Government in Brussels next month.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this progress is very welcome but that airline operators, most Service pilots and the Guild of Air Pilots have criticised the Government for being deplorably slow? Anything that the Government can do to press on with this matter will be most welcome, in view of the possibility of a very alarming disaster.
While the position in this country may be satisfactory and the position regarding civil aircraft in Europe may be satisfactory, is not there still grave conflict between the civil and military spheres in this respect?
Will the right hon. Gentleman impress on his two right hon. Friends the fact that there is widespread objection among pilots and others on the operating side against the continuing practice of military aircraft under military radar control crossing or going through airlines used by civil machines? They believe that this is a hazard to the civil aircraft and its passengers.