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Aircraft (Launch Aid)

Oral Answers to Questions — Trade and Industry – in the House of Commons at 1:49 pm on 19th March 1997.

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Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson , Ruislip - Northwood 1:49 pm, 19th March 1997

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what launch aid has been provided by his Department towards British industrial participation in each of the main aircraft variants produced by the Airbus consortium. [19445]

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Minister of State (Energy and Industry)

Launch aid has supported British participation in two main aircraft produced by the Airbus consortium. A total of £249.3 million was provided for the Airbus A320 and a total of £447.1 million for the Airbus A330/340.

Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson , Ruislip - Northwood

In view of the fact that both the wings and the power plants are produced in the United Kingdom, is not the recent order secured by Airbus Industrie for up to 23 A330 aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent engines, testimony to the competitiveness of British industry, especially in that sector, which has consistently run a balance of payments surplus since 1980, and which should bring to the Department of Trade and Industry royalties on sales of about half a billion pounds over the next five years? That is a true success story, symptomatic of success under the Conservative Government.

Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Minister of State (Energy and Industry)

My hon. Friend is right. That is tremendous news. By the time the Emirates take delivery of the order they will have invested about $1 billion in British industry recently. That is good news for the aircraft industry, for Rolls-Royce, for the east midlands and for the United Kingdom as a whole.