HC Deb 10 December 1973 vol 866 cc15-6
11. Mr. Carter-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will give priority to assisting the Lockheed 1011 TriStar with Rolls-Royce engines in view of its high reliability rate and low noise factor, and its importance to British technology.

Mr. Michael Heseltine

The Government have already backed the Rolls-Royce RB211 engine used in this aircraft with massive development support. The British Airways Board has placed a substantial order for the aircraft. The Government will continue to give all appropriate help to the manufacturers in their sales efforts throughout the world.

Mr. Carter-Jones

I thank the Minister for that reply. Is he aware that if he could give further encouragement to this type of aircraft it would reduce the environmental disadvantage of living in areas where there are airports? Will he also take into account the fact that many people are employed in the engineering industry throughout the country and that nearly every constituency is affected, and that if he does not take action to introduce a stretched version of the aircraft, with a corresponding engine, our technology may be in danger?

Mr. Heseltine

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman is aware that in one of the permissions granted by the Secretary of State for the Environment special help was given for the use of the TriStar at Luton because of its quiet engine properties. I agree with everything that the hon. Gentleman said about the need to encourage quiet engines. As to the development of the engine, the company has now bench-tested the engine to a thrust of 48,000 lbs.

Mr. Adley

Will my hon. Friend say what discussions are taking place about the fitting of the RB211 in the European airbus?

Mr. Heseltine

It is obviously the responsibility of the Rolls-Royce management to pursue openings wherever it can find them. I know that such discussions have taken place between Rolls-Royce and Air Bus Industry, but no specific proposals have been put to me, although I know that those two companies have had discussions with the British Airways Board.