HC Deb 31 July 1961 vol 645 cc900-1
2. Mr. Chetwynd

asked the Minister of Aviation whether he has awarded a design study contract in respect of the engine for a supersonic airliner.

Mr. Thorneycroft

No, Sir. Proposals have been received both from Rolls Royce and from Bristol Siddeley. These are under consideration.

Mr. Chetwynd

As the contract for the airframe was let almost a year ago, is it not time that the contract for the engine was let so that the aeroplane can march forward as one aeroplane instead of in two parts?

Mr. Thorneycroft

It is only a design study. It is not a contract for the airframe, as the hon. Gentleman knows. Certainly, the design study on the engine is important, but there are many factors involved. International discussions are going on as to what is the best type of engine, and I think we have probably been prudent to wait until now.

3. Mr. Rankin

asked the Minister of Aviation what airport facilities are available for a supersonic airliner.

Mr. Thorneycroft

Facilities exist, but there are, as yet, no supersonic airliners. If any are made they should be designed to use existing facilities.

Mr. Rankin

That, at least, is helpful. Can the right hon. Gentleman then say if it is his own intention to go ahead with a supersonic airliner, apart from any consultations with France, and apart from the design study? Would he not be frank with the House before we break up and tell us what is his intention regarding a supersonic airliner, in view of its tremendous importance to the aircraft industry?

Mr. Thorneycroft

The hon. Gentleman is taking me a little further than my Answer. He was asking about facilities. All I am saying now is that it is no good manufacturers producing some monstrosity which requires 20,000 ft. to take off. I think that we must aim to design a supersonic airliner which can use existing facilities.