HC Deb 28 October 1953 vol 518 c2807
Mr. Lennox-Boyd

With permission, Mr. Speaker, I should like to make a brief statement on the question of the validation by the United States' authorities of the certificate of airworthiness of the Comet III. It must be remembered that the Comet III is still in the design stage and no British certificate of airworthiness has been granted, nor can it be granted until the aircraft has flown.

Discussions earlier this year between representatives of the airworthiness authorities of the two countries reached a substantial measure of agreement, leaving a small field of outstanding questions on which the United States authorities required further information. As soon as that information can be made available, the discussions will be resumed with the object of satisfying United States authorities. It must be borne in mind that they have no experience in commercial operation of turbo-jet aircraft, which present their own problems.

Air Commodore Harvey

Has my right hon. Friend consulted the manufacturers of the Comet in this matter? My information is that they are extremely worried and that it is only a question of time before they must admit that they are unable to get validation of the certificate of airworthiness, and that they will thus be unable to proceed with the contract.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

As I think my hon. and gallant Friend knows, the time in the contract with Pan-American Airways has been extended. Of course, we are in touch with the manufacturers. The area uncleared is very small, though it is very important, and I hope and believe that patience, and not attributing motives to each others country, may well achieve a happy result.