British European Airways (BAC211)

Oral Answers to Questions — Board of Trade – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd November 1967.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 22nd November 1967

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement about the request by British European Airways for the British Aircraft Corporation 2–11 aircraft.

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

No, Sir, but I hope to make one shortly.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that if the European airbus does not get off the drawing board, as seems likely in view of Lufthansa's attitude, the British aircraft industry and Rolls Royce will be in great difficulties if B.E.A. does not have the BAC211? Does he not agree that the RB211 is an engine which is much quieter than others and has a great sales potential if it is put into a British aircraft?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

I certainly agree with what the hon. Gentleman has said about the RB211 and its potential export sales. I also agree that there is a very strong case for the 211. However, we have to take into account the fact that, in terms of launching costs to the Exchequer, of the various alternatives open to the Government and B.E.A. the BAC211 is by far the most expensive. Almost every hon. Gentleman who spoke from the Opposition benches yesterday said that in this new situation we ought to be cutting Government expenditure.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

Does not my right hon. Friend feel that we have probably gone far enough in supporting an industry to produce unwanted aircraft at an uneconomic price?

Photo of Mr Anthony Crosland Mr Anthony Crosland , Grimsby

That is not the alternative that presents itself to the Government, because, whatever B.E.A. is allowed to buy, we have made it clear that it cannot buy American planes. It will buy British planes of one kind or another.