Along with other members I should like first of all to congratulate the Minister of Transport on the fine work he has been doing. I do not know whether or not he is tired of hearing this, but his department and the hon. gentleman himself have been very co-operative and have helped me in a great many ways, so I am pleased to have this opportunity of thanking them.
The Department of Transport is one of the most important departments of our government, and presents perhaps the greatest challenge of our times to the people of Canada. Air transport in the world today is ever changing and Canada is just on the doorstep of the great things to come in this new age, the age of jet transportation.
Heavy jet aircraft introduced during 195960 have stepped up the pace of aviation and the jet aircraft to come will be larger and heavier than ever in the near future. The large aircraft manufacturers are spending millions of dollars on research; their designers are working on their drawing boards; their engineers are building models and testing them in their wind tunnels, and it is very necessary that countries that want to be part of the great future in air travel keep abreast of these advancements.
Until a few years ago, an air crash did not take nearly the toll of human life that it does with the new jets of today carrying over 100 passengers, and the jets to come will carry many more than today's air liners. The Department of Transport have their part to play in the matter of safe air travel and it does not stop with the inspection of aircraft. It should be the duty of the Department of Transport to build and maintain our airports and runways. These runways must be properly built for the new age, they must be wider, longer and more strongly constructed.
The terminal airports of our trans-continental and trans-ocean air lines which will use these future giant jets should be reserved exclusively for the use of these large aircraft. Feeder line aircraft should use another runway. The large jets should be able to make a direct approach, not a circuitous approach, as some of the air disasters have been caused by fast aircraft making a circuit while they have waited for a clearance from the control tower.
In the future, all aircraft other than transcontinental should have their own runway adjacent to the trans-world, or jet runway, and it is my thought that the Department of Transport should plan along these lines and start at once with their planning.
This age is indeed a challenge to Canada, but Canadians have met many challenges since the days of confederation and will meet many more. In the history of aviation, Canada and Canadians have been second to none. When we think back to the days of world war I, and the record that Canada achieved both in the building of aircraft and the training of airmen; when we remember the great Canadian bush pilots and the building of civilian air lines, we know that Canadians will always be in the van in the future development of our air transportation.
Mr. Chairman, in the early days I flew aircraft in Canada when there were no airports. We used fairgrounds. In those days there were no landing lights, and there were no rules or laws to be broken. We flew at night without running lights, and without landing lights. It is interesting for me to think back on those early days of flying. I remember that at one time in the city of Victoria we were trying to get permission to use a fairground for flying. One of the aider-men got up and said he was very much opposed to granting permission to any of what he called these infernal contraptions flying around. The aeroplane, in his opinion, was certainly not here to stay, and he was very much opposed to granting permission. However, there happened to be two or three younger men on the city council and finally they gave us permission to go ahead and put in an air field. It must be remembered we had no landing lights and no running lights; we had no radio to guide us, and once we were in the air we were on our own. We could fly at any time in those days. There were no regulations laid down by the Department of Transport covering this type of flying as there are now. We were all freelance flyers then and could fly at night if we were foolish enough to do so.
I remember in 1923 I was commissioned to fly a flying boat to Seattle to meet the President Jefferson liner from the Orient, to pick up pictures of the Japanese earthquake, and fly them to the Illustrated News of Los Angeles. I did not get very far. I had two passengers with me when I left the harbour some time after midnight, but unfortunately when we got airborne we developed motor trouble and had to land again. I always felt it was a log that we hit when landing, but it could have been anything. We turned over
two or three times and ended up neck deep in water, and stayed that way until assistance arrived.
I have recounted this story to give hon. members an idea of the very fine and necessary work the Department of Transport has done in this field since the early days. With today's existing regulations we cannot get into that kind of trouble. I should perhaps also mention that we did not have to get clearance from Seattle, Washington, nor clearance when we arrived in Victoria, British Columbia. When we did finally pull the plane up, officials from the department of immigration arrived as well as officials from the customs branch, and it is very interesting to remember that those officials did not know how we should be entered in their reports, or what classification applied. Today all these details have been taken care of through the application of the many regulations and rules. I would suggest the implementation of these regulations by the Department of Transport had a good deal to do with the development of air transportation.
In those early days of barnstorming, pilots had to sell the idea of flying to their potential passengers. I am sure this spirit of competition had a lot to do with the building up and developing of present day air line services. I suggest that feeling of competition is still valuable and will be of value in the future to the improvement of air transportation facilities. I can well remember the airports of the early days. They were nothing compared to airport facilities of today. In those days, if a flying service had five or six planes lined up in a row, that service secured the major portion of the air traffic. Individuals would perhaps make ten week-end visits to the airfield and talk to three or four different pilots before finally being convinced that they should go for a ride. The pilot who had the best sales pitch was the one who acquired the business. A ten minute trip in those days cost $15. There was no jealousy between the pilots and the operators of the flying services because they felt the pilot who secured business in this field was doing his duty to convince people that this was a safe and good way to travel, and this type of salesmanship was responsible for the development of a great deal of interest in flying.
I believe our air lines are today on the doorstep of a tremendous advance in the transportation system, and I feel we should have two major air lines in Canada because with the proper development of this business one air line eventually will not be able to handle the traffic. I understand that Trans-Canada Air Lines are now accepting first
class transportation only. I feel that the Canadian Pacific Air Lines under the able leadership of Grant McConachie, who is one of our pioneer flyers who did a tremendous job for Canada in creating interest in this field of transportation, should be licensed to operate flights to London. If this air line used propeller type aircraft, such as the Britannia, many people would be able to afford to fly to London and return who are not at present day prices able to do so. I feel this would be a step forward in the development of the Canadian air transportation industry.
There are many people today who do not even consider making such an air trip because they feel the cost, in addition to the expenses of living ten days in a city such as London-visiting all the places and seeing all the things they should see there-is more than they are able to afford. However, with the provision of a cheaper service, such as I have suggested, I feel there would be an increase in air traffic. I would suggest that without this service provided by Canadian air lines, this potential increase in air passengers will be taken by foreign air lines. I am sure that Canadian Pacific Air Lines, which has always been a pioneer in this field, would do a marvellous job in this respect. When one considers the potential development which could take place in this direction and the benefits our air line services could derive in this regard one must come to the conclusion that this is a worth-while step to be taken.
Mr. Chairman, I should like to make it very clear that I believe Canadian Pacific Air Lines should be given the privilege of operating flights to and from London. I firmly believe there should be two large Canadian air lines operating with equal rights and licences both in Canada and international areas. I believe that competition in this field is necessary to the development of Canada's air transportation system so that it will continue to be considered among the best in the world.
I should offer as a further reason for the expansion of our air transportation system particularly in Canada, the necessity of having completely Canadian controlled air transportation facilities in the event of another war. I am not suggesting that war is an in-evitibility, but I do suggest that during these days of continuous threat from foreign powers, we must build up our transportation system by increasing our facilities, and training more and more pilots. With two major Canadian air lines, many of these developments would take place normally.
Turning now to the situation regarding the Nanaimo airport-and I have drawn this to 90205-6-318J
the minister's attention on other occasions- it is essential that the landing strips be lengthened. There is plenty of land available to the Department of Transport to do this. With the advent of jet cargo planes, both for defence and commercial use, it is very necessary that this work be commenced as soon as possible. The coast route to Alaska could be serviced from the Nanaimo airport. The Pacific route to the Orient could also be served from the Nanaimo airport, and transcontinental runs could originate from that same airport. In view of the fact that Nanaimo has become a regional defence centre I suggest that it is very important that our air terminal facilities be improved. Nanaimo is centrally located on Vancouver island and must have the central emergency air service to take care of any necessary evacuation and emergency flying, as well as mercy and rescue flights.
To ensure the provision of these services I suggest that the Nanaimo airport runway must be lengthened by 1,850 feet and rebuilt to sufficient strength to receive aircraft of a gross weight of 200,000 pounds. Taxiways must be lengthened and strengthened, and a ramp area would have to be constructed in such a manner as to accommodate aircraft of the size of the DC-8, the Boeing 707 or the Vanguard and Britannia. Airport lighting will also require major improvement, and a passenger terminal would have to be built with facilities to accommodate more than 100 persons, but not more than 200 persons. The purchase of fire fighting equipment and airport maintenance equipment would be very expensive. However, such equipment is mandatory for the type of airport envisaged.
I also suggest that negotiations with field suppliers prior to the construction of the ramp area is essential in order to ensure that adequate fuelling facilities are available. Basic radio facilities and navigation facilities would have to be installed-such as I.L.S. and V.O.R. This would also be very expensive. Additional communications and staff facilities would be required in order to provide proper meteorological services and air to ground communications.
An alternate airport for international air services must contain such facilities as accommodation for customs, immigration and health. Nanaimo has less fog than other west coast cities. Airplanes cannot fly into Vancouver at certain times of the year and have to go up to Ashcroft but at Nanaimo we have less fog than Victoria and less than they have at the R.C.A.F. airport at Comox. All of these things should be taken into consideration because today an accident is a terrible thing. You have a loaded jet with over 100
people. Someone has to answer for the accidents when they happen. An examination is made to find out who is to blame. In this day and age there is no reason why there should be poor airports on the trans-continental runs.
I urge the Minister of Transport to give this matter serious thought as there is no doubt in my mind that some day the western terminal of trans-continental airlines will be in Vancouver. I made a statement which appeared in the Daily Colonist, back in 1923 that in the near future there would be an air service between Victoria, Seattle and Vancouver. Many who read that statement in the Colonist did not believe it, but, as we know, it has been a fact for some years now. I repeat, I believe that Vancouver island will be the western terminal of Trans-World Air Lines in the future.
I am sure the minister will give these suggestions proper consideration because he is very anxious to do and is doing a very fine job for aviation in Canada and in respect of the many other fields which come under his department. I know he will do what is right. I would certainly like to have the minister out in Nanaimo with me. I could show him just what I have in mind there. I am sure he would agree with me it has more possibilities than any other place on the coast.
Topic: CAPE BRETON
Subtopic: INQUIRY AS TO CHANGE IN SUBSIDIES