HC Deb 28 February 1972 vol 832 cc18-9
21. Mr. Adley

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps he is taking to ensure that those airlines which are now ready to place orders for Concorde are not being hindered from so doing through protracted negotiations by earlier option holders.

The Under-Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (Mr. David Price)

Negotiations with the early option holders are proceeding as quickly as can be expected and are not hindering negotiations with other potential customers.

Mr. Adley

I am grateful for that assurance. Can my hon. Friend confirm that the option positions of B.A.O.C. and Air France were first set up nine years ago, since when there has been a substantial change in the situation? Is he not aware that there is a possibility that these early option holders could use delaying tactics, by having a grip on the early order positions, to prevent those who are now ready to place order immediately from so doing? Will he consider fixing a time limit under which B.O.A.C. and Air France will have a date by which, if they have not placed firm orders, airlines which have not so far done so will have a chance to do so?

Mr. Price

If an airline sought an early place in the queue, this would be a matter for negotiation between the manufacturers and the relevant option holders. It has not arisen in this case.

Mr. Benn

Can the hon. Gentleman give a firm indication when the orders are likely to be placed and what is the latest date of entry into service for B.O.A.C. Concordes?

Mr. Price

I have no further information on the second part of the question. On the first part, the right hon. Gentleman is presumably referring to the orders of B.O.A.C. and Air France. The answer is, I hope within the next few months.