§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many bids are being considered for the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft; which companies have submitted bids; what costings have been submitted; what time scales have been proposed; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Moonie
Two consortia have submitted bids for this prospective PFI programme, in response to an Invitation to Negotiate. They are: Air Tanker Ltd. comprising Cobham, Thales, Halliburton, EADS and Rolls Royce; and the Tanker and Transport Service Company Ltd. consisting of BAE Systems, Boeing, Serco and Spectrum capital. We are now in the early stages of detailed contract negotiations. When these are complete, both consortia will be invited to confirm or revise their bids. I am withholding details of their bids in accordance with Exemption 13 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information. We currently anticipate taking a formal investment decision in 2002, when we will select a preferred bidder if PFI remains the best value money solution. Contract award is scheduled for 2003 with the aim of providing the service from around 2007.