HC Deb 20 February 1969 vol 778 cc145-6W
Mr. Brooks

asked the Minister of Technology whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a list of those airline operators who have placed options for the Concorde airliner, the number of airliners each company has so far ordered, and the total sum to which each of those firms is liable on cancelling then-options.

Mr. Benn

Seventy-four delivery positions have been reserved for the following sixteen airlines:

No. of delivery positions
B.O.A.C. 8
Air France 8
Pan American 8
Air Canada 4
Air India 2
American 6
Braniff 3
Continental 3
Eastern 6
Japan Airlines 3
Lufthansa 3
M.E.A 2
Qantas 4
Sabena 2
T.W.A. 6
United 6
Total 74

Deposits from airlines in respect of option agreements amount to nearly £4 million shared equally between B.A.C. and Sud. The amount which an airline would be liable to pay in the event of cancelling its option agreement would be a matter of negotiation between the manufacturers and the airline concerned.

Recently most of these options have been extended, and negotiations on the remainder are in hand.

Mr. Brooks

asked the Minister of Technology when he intends to publish a detailed technical account of the reasons for the delay in the Concorde project.

Mr. Benn

The delays to the first flights of the prototypes have resulted mainly from its having taken longer than expected to develop, manufacture, test, install and prove various items of equipment. As with any aircraft, responsibility for the equipment systems is shared between the airframe and engine contractors and numerous equipment sub-contractors. The areas in which difficulties have occurred include:

  • the air-conditioning system;
  • aircrew equipment;
  • the droop-nose mechanism;
  • the electrical generating system;
  • flight-test instrumentation;
  • the gas turbine starter;
  • the inertial navigation system;
  • the landing gear and braking system;
  • the powered flying control system.

The setback to the target date for introduction into airline service, which is now 1973, derives partly from the delays to the prototypes, and partly from a reassessment of the timescale achievable for the programme as a whole, including the effects of introducing the proposed design changes which I mentioned in reply to a Question from my hon. Friend the Member for Bristol, North-East (Mr. Dobson) on 11th February.—[Vol. 777, c. 282–3.]