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Friday, 30 September 1949

Mr DRAKEFORD (MARIBYRNONG, VICTORIA) (Minister for Air) - It is correct that the flying boat service to New Zealand will be operated by Solent aircraft, which are the most recently built and most uptodate flying boats. They are made by the Short Sunderland factory in the United

Kingdom, which has produced many good types of flying boats in the past. It is expected that the Solents will take over the service about the middle of November. The service will be extended in two ways in that it will be operated on a daily basis and the Solents will carry 44 passengers compared with the maximum capacity of 28 passengers of the Sandringham flying boats now in operation on the service. The passenger capacity of the Sandringhams is limited to 28, but because of defects that have developed in that type of aircraft during the last twelve months or so they have been carrying only about nineteen passengers each. Therefore, in addition to affording a greater passenger carrying capacity, which we expect will be filled, the Solent service will be operated as I have said, on a daily basis, thus making possible an increased passenger-carrying service. The service will not be operated from Botany Bay, because the development of that proposed flying boat base has not yet proceeded far enough for it to be used, but will operate from Rose Bay in the same way as the present service. I am quite sure that when the Solent aircraft go into operation on the service they will give general satisfaction, and I am glad to be able to say that we have been able, in this instance, to buy the type of aircraft from Britain that will meet the needs of the Australian community.

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