§ Ms Dari Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement about the future provision of helicopter flying for the Royal Family.
§ Mr. Spellar
[pursuant to his reply 31 July 1997, c. 466]: The Ministry of Defence has run a competition, on behalf of the Royal Household, for the provision of a helicopter service for the Royal Family. As a result of the responses to the competition it became clear that the option of using an aircraft with civilian aircrew operating out of a civilian airfield would provide greater savings to the taxpayer than a military operated solution. The Royal Household therefore decided that they wished to pursue this option and have now decided to place contracts for such a civilian service with Sikorsky and Air Hanson.