HL Deb 13 July 1966 vol 276 cc115-6

2.33 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the present situation regarding the Airbus; whether they have received official notification that the French have been compelled to consider, as an alternative to the Rolls-Royce engine, an American engine for it; if so, whether any reasons have been given, and whether they are on grounds of cost and delivery; whether there has been any change in the original plans; and what action Her Majesty's Government propose to take, in order that this project may remain a purely European venture.]


My Lords, an outline specification for a short haul, high capacity aircraft, apart from the choice of engine, has been agreed in discussion with the French and German Governments. Further talks are planned during the next few weeks. The choice of engine cannot be made, of course, without assessment of the implications, including cost and delivery, of all suitable candidates, and this is in hand. Naturally, we hope that a European airbus will be fitted with a European engine, but no decision has yet been taken.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for that Answer. May I ask him whether he can tell the House when a decision will be reached on whether the airbus is to be a two-engined or a four-engined aircraft? In that context, would the noble Lord not agree that the Rolls-Royce RB. 178 would be an ideal engine for the airbus. if it is to be a two-engined aircraft, and that a smaller version has been designed should the airbus be a four-engined aircraft?


My Lords, as usual, the noble Lord is very well informed on this matter. I am afraid I cannot tell him when the matter will be settled. It is one of considerable detailed discussion, but I share his hopes with regard to both the RB. 178 and the RB. 205. I am afraid that at the moment these are matters that are still being talked about.


Certainly I would agree with the noble Lord.