§ Mr. Churchill
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement regarding the proposed privatisation of the Queen's Flight, indicating how many companies are being invited to tender; what is their nationality; if the list includes the company chosen to operate Ministers' flights out of Northolt; and if the ground crew in the flight are to be given the opportunity to tender.
§ Mr. Soames
There are no plans to privatise the Queen's Flight. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Defence announced on 23 June,Official Report, column 250, it was decided following an efficiency scrutiny that the Queen's Flight should move from RAF Benson to RAF Northolt to join the other communications aircraft of No. 32 Squadron. The two would then be amalgamated into one collocated squadron to be known as No. 32 (The Royal) Squadron. This process should be complete by 1 April 1995.
As it would not be practicable to employ two contractors to maintain the aircraft of the single collocated squadron, an extension of the existing engineering support contract was arranged. Arrangements will be made in the normal way to re-tender this task when the current contract expires.