HC Deb 06 February 1957 vol 564 c428
40. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation what progress has been made in the development of a medium-range aircraft suitable for the North Atlantic services and operable in all weathers from Prestwick.

Mr. Watkinson

No medium-range aircraft is being developed specifically for the North Atlantic. All versions of the Britannia and the Comet IV will be able to operate from Prestwick in all weathers. Of these, the long-range Britannia will be able to make the crossing non-stop.

Mr. Rankin

Does the Minister not recollect that during the debate on the Air Corporations Bill in November he said that the D.H.118 would be a machine not only suitable for the North Atlantic trade but one which would fit in with the runway requirements at Prestwick? As the D.H.118 appears now to have vanished, like so many dreams associated with Prestwick, what is the right hon. Gentleman going to put in its place—the Britannia?

Mr. Watkinson

The D.H.118 is not for the moment being considered, because there do not appear to be overseas sales prospects for it, but some other aircraft will have to be bought in its place. That aircraft will, I hope—indeed, I am sure—be suitable for Prestwick.

Mr. Beswick

Did we not say in that debate in November that there were no prospects of overseas sales because of the delay following the cancellation of the V.1000? Will the Minister now say what new facts have come to light between that date and the cancellation of the D.H.118?

Mr. Watkinson

Yes, if the hon. Gentleman will put down a Question.

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