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Railtracks in the Sky
"New" Labour, Air Transport
Deregulation & the Competitive Market

By Peter Reed
October 2002
ISBN: 0-85124-671-0
132 pages, 5 3/4" x 8 1/4"
$24.50 Paper Original

Some of the world's largest airlines facing bankruptcy; American consumer groups calling for air-transport re-regulation; National Air Traffic Services (NATS) on the verge of collapse only months after privatization; an "intensifying crisis" at London's airports; growing worries about operational standards in aviation; relentless pressure on the natural environment; these trends were clear long before the New York terrorist attacks. And yet, despite the compelling evidence of policy failure, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown press on "unremittingly" with their schemes for deregulation, free markets and privatization. Their policies many bring about irreversible changes with profoundly adverse effects on airlines, workers in the industry, the traveling public and the entire British economy. In this book, one of Britain's most experienced transport professionals explains the issues in language that anyone can understand. This informative book also clears up some of the enduring mysteries of air travel such as Overbooking, Negative Add-ons and Bucket Shops. But perhaps the core issue it poses is that around the possible handing over of vital decisions to "international market forces. The subject matter thus has a significance extending far beyond air-transport. As one of the original Labour modernizers, Peter Reed concludes that "New" Labour's policies are unrealistic, unworkable and based on no more than ancient dogmas. He shows that alternative policies are perfectly feasible. An international managed regime for air transport could be made to work, starting at European Union level. But this would call for a rejection of discredited "free market" nostrums and a major reorientation of policy thinking. This book aims to stimulate constructive debate on these themes. Agree with it or not, this is a highly informative, thought provoking and politically constructive book.

Transportation; Aviation
Socialist Renewal, 3rd No. 3