British Airways

Oral Answers to Questions — Industry – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th February 1983.

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Photo of Mr Michael Colvin Mr Michael Colvin , Bristol North West 12:00 am, 14th February 1983

asked the Secretary of State for Industry when he last had a meeting with the chairman of British Airways to discuss the funding of the support costs of Concorde and the purchase by British Airways of new aircraft.

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

The chairman of British Airways is in regular touch with my right hon. and noble Friend the Secretary of State for Trade on a variety of issues. Industry Ministers have also discussed these matters with Sir John King.

Photo of Mr Michael Colvin Mr Michael Colvin , Bristol North West

Does my hon. Friend agree that the 200th anniversary of man's first flight is hardly the year in which the Government should pull the rug from under the feet of the Concorde project, which was a major achievement in aeronautical progress, especially when British Airways has said that it is prepared to shoulder the full burden of support costs for flying Concorde as from April 1984? With regard to the second part of my question, which relates to the purchase of new aircraft by British Airways—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Order. We have finished with the first part of the question and we have had enough of the second.

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

As my hon. Friend said, we put to British Airways the suggestion that it should take over the future costs of supporting Concorde. The British. Airways board replied that it could take over the future costs of supporting Concorde subject to agreement being reached on a number of matters. We very much welcome this conclusion, but we are still considering some of the detailed matters. It is not possible yet to say when a final announcement will be made to the House.

Photo of Mr David Penhaligon Mr David Penhaligon , Truro

Will the Minister outline the Government's view on supersonic flight? Is he aware that the west country is plagued with Concorde booms night after night for six months of the year? An hon. Member representing a west country seat receives scores of letters about this. Does he agree that this problem outlaws supersonic aircraft for commercial purposes?

Photo of Mr Norman Lamont Mr Norman Lamont , Kingston upon Thames

Questions about noise are for the Department of Trade and the Department of the Environment.