HC Deb 28 February 1967 vol 742 cc239-40
6. Mr. Onslow

asked the Minister of Technology what studies he has made of the potential market for a 250-seat short-haul civil aircraft.

Mr. Benn

Joint studies by my staff with French and German officials have established that there will be a substantial world market for aircraft of about this size during the 1970s.

Mr. Onslow

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that there will also be a substantial and possibly rather earlier market for aircraft of a smaller size, say 180-seaters, which would keep this country in the subsonic aircraft business? It would be a tragedy if his preoccupation with the airbus were to kill the BAC2-11.

Mr. Benn

One of the considerations in the mind of the airlines, who are very much concerned with this, is the rôle of the intermediate aircraft to which the hon. Member has referred and the rôle of the airbus to which I have referred in my Answer.

Sir J. Langford-Holt

Are we not in a danger of getting this wrong? To what extent are the British companies and the Corporations brought into this? Surely they are the people who know what they want in future rather than being told what they ought to want?

Mr. Benn

That is exactly the point. It is collaborative markets as much as collaborative research and development which matters in issues of this kind.