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The Governments of the United Kingdom, France and Germany entered into the Memorandum of Understanding on the first phase of the airbus programme in the expectation that their national airlines will support the programme, and we have assurances from the German Government that they will honour this agreement. Lufthansa is making a valuable contribution to the present work of detailed definition of the airbus project.
That remains to be seen, but it is one of the firm conditions of the continuation of the project that the three airlines confirm their requirement and that between them they shall order 75 of the aircraft.
No, it is for the airlines to make their requirements known, but each of the participating States has undertaken to honour the agreement, which implies that the airlines will buy the airbus.
The decision to power the European airbus with two engines was taken in the light of all the relevant considerations, including safety, reliability and economy. I expect it to prove attractive to pilots and passengers alike.
Does the Minister realise that the Americans are insisting on three engines because of their problem of flying over the Rockies? With similar problems in Europe—for example, the Alps—would it not be safer and better, and certainly help in selling the plane, if we had three engines, too?
The safety requirements for a two-engined aircraft are identical to those for an aircraft with more power. I am satisfied that an aircraft of the two-engined configuration with a failure in one engine will not suffer from any extra hazard as against an aircraft with any additional power.