§ 41. Mr. Hunter
asked the Minister of Aviation what measures his Department is taking to improve landing facilities for passengers arriving in air-liners at the long-distance terminal at London Airport North.
§ 42. Mr. Skeffington
asked the Minister of Aviation in view of the delay in landing passengers from air-liners at the London Airport North Terminal, what steps his Department is taking to improve the facilities there.
§ 47. Mr. Chetwynd
asked the Minister of Aviation whether, in view of the congestion at London Airport, the new programme of works may be expedited.
§ Mr. Sandys
The exceptional delays in handling incoming passengers at the North Station of London Airport on 20th June arose from the arrival of an abnormal number of large transatlantic air-liners within a short space of time. This was due partly to unavoidable delays in departures from New York, which also has its own problems of traffic congestion. The position was further aggravated by the arrival of unscheduled charter flights.
Fortunately the peak period for the arrival of long distance passengers at the North Station coincides with a comparatively slack period for the arrival of Continental passengers at the Central Station. I have therefore given instructions that when the arrival of delayed or non-scheduled flights appears likely to cause congestion at the North Station, the aircraft concerned will be handled instead at the Central Station. This will, I hope, help to relieve the pressure.
Meanwhile we are pressing ahead with the construction of the new long distance air station, half of which will be ready for occupation next year.
In order that passengers may have the comfort of knowing that better things are around the corner, I have had the model of the new building set up in the waiting room at the North Station.
§ Mr. Hunter
The Minister is no doubt aware that there is great disappointment amongst the passengers at the long time they had to wait. Can he also provide temporary facilities at the north entrance 965 to London Airport where the long-distance terminal is pending his longterm policy? Can he not make temporary provisions now?
§ Mr. Sandys
The temporary provision I am making is to divert those aircraft to the Central Station, where there should be sufficient facilities to deal with them at the times when congestion is likely to arise at the North Station.
§ Mr. Chetwynd
I welcome this temporary expedient, but does the Minister realise that his "pie in the sky" promise will give no satisfaction to arriving passengers while they wait fuming in London Airport for, perhaps, over half an hour waiting to go through immigration and Customs? Why was it not foreseen that the arrival of the large jet airliners would not coincide with developments at London Airport? Why must we wait for another year?
§ Mr. G. Brown
On the first part of the Minister's answer, could he arrange that this might be reciprocal with the Americans at Idlewild so that they might do the same thing? On the second part, does he think that the promise of a model, in view of what happened to the model of Blue Streak, might be rather terrifying?
§ Mr. Sandys
I think it would be a good thing to show people that something is being done, even though they may have to wait a little for it.