HC Deb 24 April 1968 vol 763 cc222-4
10. Mr. Marten

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will publish the details of the calculations made in arriving at the subsidy to be paid to British European Airways for operating Trident 3B aircraft.

15. Mr. Fortescue

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether compensation terms have yet been agreed between his Department and British European Airways in respect of the Corporation's aircraft re-equipment programme.

44. Mr. Robert Howarth

asked the President of the Board of Trade if he will make a statement on the negotiations with British European Airways over the amount of compensation it is to be allowed in consequence of ordering certain aircraft.

Mr. Crosland

As I indicated during the Second Reading of the Air Corporations Bill, negotiations are proceeding, and I will tell the House the outcome as soon as possible.—[Vol. 762, c. 632–701.]

Mr. Marten

That is not quite an answer to my Question. What I really wanted to know was if the Minister would publish the calculations upon which any subsidy is based? That is the important point, that it should be seen openly how the Government arrive at a rate of subsidy.

Mr. Crosland

When we do make the announcement I will certainly give the House a very full explanation of the financial agreement that we have reached.

Mr. Fortescue

Could the Minister tell us whether these negotiations are delaying the negotiations on the purchase by B.E.A. of the Trident 3B? Is he aware that on the London-Paris route Air France is already flying Boeing 727s, which was B.E.A.'s original choice. Is he further aware that this plane will undoubtedly take a lot of traffic away from B.E.A. until the Trident 3B is inserted?

Mr. Crosland

I do not think that the effect of these negotiations will delay what is the important thing, the date of delivery of the Trident 3B. It is fairly clear by now that B.E.A. is to buy the Trident 3B. B.E.A. has been engaged in discussion with Hawker Siddeley about the Trident 3B. I am trying, independently of these compensation negotiations, to get an agreement about the exact number of Trident 3Bs B.E.A. will wish to buy. Once we have the number we can agree on the price, so I hope there will be no delay in consequence of this, in the delivery of these aircraft.

Mr. Robert Howarth

Would my right hon. Friend confirm that the negotiations cover two aircraft—the BAC 111 and the Hawker Siddeley Trident—and that urgent attention should be given to this, as it seems to be endangering the delivery of the Hawker Siddeley 3B to B.E.A.?

Mr. Crosland

I am extremely anxious to bring these negotiations to a successful conclusion. On my hon. Friend's specific point, they go beyond any particular aircraft because these negotiations are being undertaken in order to fulfil the Government's pledge given in August, 1966, that B.E.A. can operate as a fully commercial undertaking with the fleet that it acquires.

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