V.G. Aircraft and Airbus

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan 12:00 am, 30th November 1966

asked the Minister of Aviation if he will now make a statement on the future development in association with France of the variable-geometry aircraft and the airbus.

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

I have nothing to add to what I said in the Aviation debate on 21st November on the V.G. aircraft and on the airbus.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

Does my right hon. Friend recollect that the Bristol Brabazon was a pioneer of the airbus but that we did not have the engines to lift it? Now that we have the engines, will my right hon. Friend assure us that we will retain the position with the airbus that we established 15 years ago? Would he say whether financial difficulties are impeding progress on the V.G. development, and can he also say——

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. Questions should be reasonably short.

Photo of Mr Jon Rankin Mr Jon Rankin , Glasgow Govan

There are two parts to it, Mr. Speaker. Could my right hon. Friend say whether politics are playing a part in preventing the development of the V.G.?

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

As both I and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have pointed out on several occasions, we are determined to do all we can to get the V.G. project going forward. There are no financial considerations standing in the way on our side. As to the airbus, as I said in the debate on 21st November, we shall do our best to progress the airbus if an economic proposition can be agreed with our European allies. I do not think that my hon. Friend is accurate in saying that an engine for it exists. If a European engine is to be adopted for a European airbus, it would need to be developed.

Photo of Mr Robert Carr Mr Robert Carr , Mitcham

Can the Minister assure the House that in the unfortunate event of the Anglo-French V.G. product falling to the ground, the Government have done contingency planning for the alternative?

Photo of Mr Fred Mulley Mr Fred Mulley , Sheffield Park

I can give the right hon. Gentleman that assurance. We are very well advanced with contingency planning about what we should do. We would hope to make an announcement almost immediately if it failed.