HC Deb 10 November 1969 vol 791 c25
28. Mr. Marten

asked the Minister of Technology if he will make a statement on the proposal for a BAC 3–11 aircraft.

Mr. Benn

The British Aircraft Corporation has continued to keep me informed of its progress in preliminary design studies and in discussions with airlines.

Mr. Marten

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how much launching aid is likely if the development of this aeroplane should go ahead, and what is the estimated in-service date if a decision is taken within, say, the next few months?

Mr. Benn

It would be wrong for me to anticipate the proposal to be brought forward by B.A.C., and I should have to consider whether this information was covered by commercial confidentiality. B.A.C. understands very well that it will have to produce its share of the cost and some assurance of a market. I am awaiting the full proposals from the Corporation with great eagerness.

Mr. Robert Howarth

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the impending decision by airlines such as B.E.A. and other European operators for an aircraft of this size? Does not this mean that it is urgent and that we must have a decision with regard to either this aircraft or the European airbus?

Mr. Benn

Yes, but eagerness for a decision does not necessarily mean that the decision is being delayed by the Government. I must make it absolutely clear that I have not had a firm proposal from B.A.C. on a basis on which it would be sensible or possible for me to adjudge on its request.

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