Short-range Jet Aircraft

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18th December 1957.

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Photo of Mr Albert Hunter Mr Albert Hunter , Feltham 12:00 am, 18th December 1957

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether orders have yet been placed for the future requirements of British European Airways for short-range jet air liners.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation for what reason the decision regarding the purchase of the British European Airways medium short-range airliner is still delayed.

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I would refer the hon. Members to the reply I gave on 4th December to the hon. Member for Uxbridge (Mr. Beswick).

Negotiations are at such a stage that I do not think it would be helpful for me to add anything to my previous Answer.

Photo of Mr Albert Hunter Mr Albert Hunter , Feltham

Will the Minister give this matter his very close attention, remembering the long delay and uncertainty that we have had with regard to long-range airliners for B.O.A.C.?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

I am giving it my very close attention, and I hope that it will soon be with some result.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Are we to understand that as far as the technical considerations are concerned the decision could have been made by now, and that it is simply a question of financing this operation? If that is the case, is there not an obligation upon the Government to come to some decision as quickly as possible?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

The House should certainly understand that this aircraft is to be a private venture, financed by funds provided by a firm or firms—and I hope that it will be a project in which some firms will merge their efforts. It has to be financed by them, and I think that that is the right way to place the order.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

But is it not a fact that if this private venture is to be successful it has to sell in the overseas market as well as in this country? If it has to sell overseas must not a start be made pretty soon?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

Yes. That is why I am so anxious to get a quick solution in this matter. At the moment I think that matters are going forward as quickly as they can.

Photo of Mr Ernest Davies Mr Ernest Davies , Enfield East

Why is it necessary in this case for the project to be financed by private venture? Is it not a fact that in other cases the Government have assisted with development costs and otherwise, in regard to the new planes which the Corporation has bought?

Photo of Mr Harold Watkinson Mr Harold Watkinson , Woking

The hon. Member will no doubt remember that the V.C.10, of which we have very great hopes and which is on order for B.O.A.C., was a similar private venture on the part of Vickers and Rolls Royce.