HC Deb 08 December 1965 vol 722 cc402-4
17. Mr. Monro

asked the Minister of Aviation whether a full certificate of airworthiness has been granted to the Boeing 707/336 transport.

18. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Aviation what British certificate of airworthiness has been granted to the Boeing 707/336 freighter.

33. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation why a British certificate of airworthiness is to be issued for the two British Overseas Airways Corporation's Boeing 707/336 freighters, although they do not conform to existing British civil airworthiness requirements.

Mr. Stonehouse

The two Boeing 707/336c aircraft ordered by B.O.A.C. will be issued with certificates of airworthiness in the private category to permit them to be ferried from Seattle to England where some final modifications will be made with a view to the issue of a full certificate of airworthiness.

Mr. Monro

Will the Minister confirm that when granting certificates of airworthiness he is concerned only with the performance and handling of the aircraft and not its commercial future?

Mr. Stonehouse

Yes. That is the case. In fact the position is that the A.R.B. was concerned with certain stall characteristics, and when they have been dealt with it will be for the A.R.B. to grant the certificate.

Mr. Rankin

Could my hon. Friend say exactly what is the reason for the delay in the delivery of these aircraft? Is it due to the fact that the Boeings' wings are being fitted with sensors, as was done with the VCIO in order to bring it up to the same standard of airworthiness as the VCIO, which conforms to British standards?

Mr. Stonehouse

These aircraft were due to be delivered in October and November. The critics of the British aircraft industry should note that these two aircraft ordered from the United States are two months and one month late on delivery because of a strike in Seattle.

Mr. Onslow

Is it not a fact that the circumstances surrounding this decision are rather curious? Is there not strong evidence that pressure was brought to bear on the Air Registration Board to change its mind about its initial refusal? Will the Minister look into this?

Mr. Stonehouse

I do not think that I can confirm that. In fact, the Air Registration Board is concerned about particular modifications. This aircraft is very similar, in the aerodynamic sense, to the 707/320, which is already flying around the world and which has been fully certificated by some other countries. The fact that there is a delay on this is because the A.R.B. standards are slightly higher than those in the United States.

Mr. Stainton

Can the Parliamentary Secretary deny that undue pressure has been brought to bear on the Air Registration Board? He said that he could not confirm it. Could he deny it?

Mr. Stonehouse

I repeat what I said: I cannot confirm this statement, which has been made, that any pressure has been brought to bear at all on the A.R.B. in regard to these particular matters.

Mr. Onslow

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.