§ Sir C. MacAndrew
asked the Secretary of State for Air (1) whether he is aware that the weekly air-mail service between Sierra Leone and Bathurst, inaugurated on 24th June, 1938, to connect with the German air-mail service from Bathurst to Stuttgart, has now been suspended for an indefinite period owing to deterioration of the single seaplane provided for this service; that, as a result of this suspension, there is now only a fortnightly regular ocean-mail service between this country and Sierra Leone; that letters now take nine days in transit from Sierra Leone to the United Kingdom, as compared with three days during the period of operation of the air-mail service; and what steps he proposes to take to make this service quicker;
(2) whether he is aware that a French amphibian aeroplane passes over Freetown, Sierra Leone, once weekly in either direction, carrying mails and passengers between France and Monrovia; and, if no British air-mail service to and from Sierra Leone is likely to be immediately available, he will at once contract with the French air lines concerned for the carriage of mails to and from Sierra Leone?
As I informed my hon. and gallant Friend on 14th December, 1938, the interruption to the British operated Bathurst—Freetown service is only temporary. Meantime the air-mail between Sierra Leone and this country is being conveyed by the French and German services which operate twice a week between Europe and Dakar or Bathurst. Conveyance between these towns and Sierra Leone is made by surface transport. The total time of transmission in either direction is 5–7 days.2501W
I am aware that there is also a French amphibian service which operates once a week between Dakar and Pointe Noire in connection with the French service to Dakar. In view, however, of the fact that the Bathurst—Freetown service is to 2502W start again very shortly it does not appear necessary to negotiate with the French authorities for an alteration in their service such as my hon. and gallant Friend suggests.