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Thursday, 17 August 1972
Page: 160

Senator MURPHY - My question is directed to the Minister for Civil Aviation. I refer to the new arrangements under which persons will be able to fly to the United Kingdom at a fare which is much reduced and to the apparent condition that this will be a non-stop journey except, perhaps in very restricted circumstances. Will the Minister tell me what attention has been paid to the health aspects of imposing such conditions on persons who have to fly in extremely cramped conditions and for a great number of hours under circumstances which are extremely trying even when people have a choice of getting off the aircraft and staying at various points of the journey? Will the Minister tell us whether any investigation has been made into this matter? If not, will there be some investigation into it in view of the fact that it concerns a great number of travellers who, because of the great disparity in fares, will be forced, virtually for reasons of economy, to undertake those journeys even though they prefer to travel in circumstances of more comfort and apparent health?

Senator COTTON - The problem of fatigue in long flights exercises the mind of the airline operators and the Department of Civil Aviation. I am very mindful of this aspect. The problem of achieving low cost travel in bulk is very much a problem of filling aircraft and taking them as quickly as possible to their destination, with a minimum of stopovers. This whole matter is being studied. At present a passenger may make a limited number of stopovers for an extra payment, but for some older people I think that what the honourable senator has said has considerable substance. This also is a matter of concern which is being studied. It is very much a matter of the altered time cycle physiologically for people. Equally there is a problem in relation to cost. For how long can people afford stopover accommodation? I should like it to be understood that this is a matter of concern and that it is being studied by the operators and by ourselves.

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