HC Deb 17 November 1937 vol 329 cc384-5
40. Mr. Simmonds

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether he has yet made provision for an adequate supply of all-metal medium-sized airliners of British manufacture; and when such aircraft are expected to be available?

38. Captain Plugge

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Air whether his attention has been called to the recent delays in new commercial machines for British air-lines as a result of the concentration of aeroplane factories upon rearmament work; and whether in view of the necessity of maintaining the prestige of the British commercial air services, he proposes to take any steps to assist them in this respect?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

The rearmament programme has necessarily absorbed a large proportion of the industry's capacity. The Air Ministry has, however, been investigating the possibility of assisting the development and production of fast all-metal air transport machines of suitable sizes and types which will maintain the prestige of British aircraft construction and operation. No decision has yet been reached on the type or types of aircraft concerned, but the question is receiving urgent consideration.

Mr. Simmonds

Is it not a fact that this has been under urgent consideration by the Air Ministry, over two years now, and, in view of the fact that His Majesty's Government gave the most specific assurances that rearmament would not interfere with the development of civil aircraft, cannot my hon. and gallant Friend assure the House that a very early decision will be arrived at?

Lieut.-Colonel Muirhead

This matter, which is closely touching the interests of civil aviation, is one that is constantly under consideration. I can only say, however, that, in connection with recent developments, we have had very close consultation with the air-lines with the object of getting out a specification.

Mr. De la Bère

Are these consultations going on in perpetuity?