HC Deb 30 March 1984 vol 57 cc343-4W
Mr. Colvin

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what arrangements are being made for the continued support of Concorde operations by British Airways and Air France; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Norman Lamont

The Government and the British Airways Board have agreed that the proposals contained in the report of a review group on British Airways and Concorde finances provide an acceptable basis for the transfer of Government in-service support responsibilities to the airline from 1 April 1984. Accordingly from that date British Airways will take over responsibility for the British contribution to the organisation, procurement and funding of in-service support for the airlines of both countries. To this end British Airways has concluded Concorde funding agreements with British Aerospace and Rolls-Royce, and Government contracts with these firms will be terminated on 31 March 1984.

As the House has already been informed, British Airways has paid the Government a total of £16.5 million to secure release from the requirement to pay the Government 80 per cent. of the airline's Concorde operating surpluses, to acquire title to the Government's stocks of spare parts, and as a contribution to 1983–84 support costs. The French Government have been consulted on the Anglo-French aspects of these arrangements.

The Ministry of Defence (Procurement Executive) will continue to act as agents of the Department of Trade and Industry in relation to residual financial transactions under the Government's contracts with British Aerospace, Rolls-Royce and the Civil Aviation Authority, and will participate in such institutional machinery as is still judged necessary for the performance of residual functions under the Anglo-French agreement of 29 November 1962, which will continue.

Copies of the report are available from the Vote Office and have been placed in the Library of the House. The transfer of responsibilities does not affect Concorde airline operations in either Britain or France, or their safety. These will continue with full support from the industries of the two countries.