HL Deb 19 March 1947 vol 146 cc473-4

My Lords, I beg to ask the first of the questions standing in my name on the Order Paper.

[The question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government whether the Tudor I aircraft has yet been accepted as satisfactory by B.O.A.C. for service on Empire and North Atlantic routes; how many Tudor Is are completed or under construction to the order of His Majesty's Government or the Government owned Corporations; if production is still being proceeded with according to plan, and what are the anticipated delivery dates of those not yet completed.]


My Lords, The Tudor I has not yet been accepted by British Overseas Airways Corporation as satisfactory for service on their routes. Action is being taken to develop the type up to the standard required by this corporation but it is too early to make a pronouncement regarding the time which will be needed to complete this development. The noble Lord asked how many Tudor Is have been completed or are under construction to the order of His Majesty's Government or the Government-owned corporations. The two prototypes of the Tudor I have been completed and one of these is to be used to gain information on the use of jet engines in large civil aircraft. To this end it will be fitted with four Rolls Royce Nene jet engines and will be known as the Tudor VIII. Of the original order for twenty-two production aircraft, sixteen will be completed as Tudor Is for British Overseas Airways Corporation and eight of these have been test flown. A further two are on order for the Ministry of Civil Aviation and are equipped to a different for special communications duties. These will be known as Tudor IIIs. The remaining aircraft, which will be known as Tudor IVs, are being developed from the original Tudor I to meet the special requirements of British South American Airways Corporation. These aircraft have a longer fuselage than the Tudor I and carry thirty-two passenger.

The noble Lord also asked about the production of these aircraft. Production is proceeding, but amendments to the original programme have been occasioned from time to time by technical design difficulties. Further delay has been caused by the fact that during the recent period of fuel restrictions the factory was closed for nearly a month. A modified delivery programme for the British Overseas Airways Corporation aircraft cannot yet be given as this depends upon the degree of modification found to be necessary. The extent of these modifications will not be known until the investigations by the manufacturer and the Ministry of Supply have been completed. The first Tudor IV is due to fly at the end of this month.


I thank the noble Lord for his reply. I wonder if he could give me two more pieces of information? First, can we have an assurance that until the Tudor I is completely acceptable to B.O.A.C. no request will he made to them to take it over? Second, does this extra delay portend the purchase of any further American civil aircraft for our Government-owned corporations?


As regards the first of the noble Lord's supplementary questions, B.O.A.C. will, of course, not be required to take over any aircraft which are not found to be satisfactory for the purpose for which they are intended. The second part of the noble Lord's question scarcely seems to arise upon this.


If I put down a question I presume that the noble Lord will answer it.

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