HC Deb 07 March 1988 vol 129 cc10-1W
Mr. Hayward

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on recent developments in the Airbus programme.

Mr. Kenneth Clarke

I met my ministerial colleagues from France, Germany and Spain in Paris on 1 March to review recent developments in the Airbus programme.

We noted with satisfaction the continuing commercial success of the products of the Airbus consortium, particularly the A320. The A320 received its certification from the airworthiness authorities of France, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands on 26 February, and we congratulated the manufacturers on the fact that this major milestone had been achieved on schedule and that the first A320s would enter airline service at the end of this month. We also noted with satisfaction the continuing commercial success and technical development of the A330/A340 programmes.

My colleagues and I also gave Airbus Industrie and its partner companies a mandate to pursue expeditiously the negotiations begun with McDonnell Douglas about possible collaboration. These will be undertaken with the aim of reaching an agreement that would be beneficial to both parties.

We reviewed the position reached in the trade talks with the United States on civil aircraft in the context of the GATT, and expressed a wish that these discussions should reach an early and satisfactory conclusion in accordance with the principles and objectives agreed with United States Trade Representative Clayton Yeutter on 27 October 1987.