HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc20-1
23. Mr. Onslow

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the value to the United Kingdom aerospace industry of the British components and spares required during the anticipated operational life of a Lockheed 1011 aircraft as compared with those required for an A300B aircraft.

Mr. David Price

Typical values, including spares during the life of the aircraft, are about £3 million for the L1011 and about £¾ million for the A300B, at 1971 price levels. The precise figures will vary with the type of airline operation and the aircraft service life, and with individual airlines' choice of equipment.

Mr. Onslow

Does it not follow logically from that that the success of the 1011 must be a matter of much higher national priority for this country than the success of the A300B? Will my hon. Friend undertake that this simple fact is not lost sight of among any other secondary considerations which may affect the placing of an order for an airbus by B.E.A.?

Mr. Price

I am sure that the information I have given the House will satisfy my hon. Friend's criteria.

Mr. Whitehead

Would the hon. Gentleman accept that, heartening as the figures which he has given for the Lockheed 1011 are, the position of the 1011 would be much improved if the Government would now authorised the go-ahead for an updated version of the RB211 engine?

Mr. Price

The hon. Member has a subsequent Question on the Order Paper on that very subject.

Mr. Rost

Is my hon. Friend aware that if the comparison is made in terms of man hours, it is even more favourable for the RB211 in terms of employment for this country?

Mr. Price

Part of the basic difference is that the 1011 is a larger aircraft. We also have the engine content where the replacement opportunities are far greater than in the case of the A300B wings, which on the whole are not replaced.

Mr. Millan

As well as ensuring that these figures are properly taken into account by the British Airways Board before deciding on a replacement, will the Minister impress on the board the desirability of coming to a decision soon so that uncertainty on this matter can be removed?

Mr. Price

I am sure that the board is giving this matter urgent consideration, but these aircraft are not strictly comparable. There is an overlap in performance, but the A300B is a shorter range aircraft than the Tristar and has a smaller seating capacity.

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