THE decision to con ne Imperial Airways and British Airways in a kind of public utility corporation is a curious instance of the adoption by a Government of a proposal made by the Opposition some time before and then rejected. When the Air Navigation Bill was under discussion in the House of Commons, Mr. T. Johnston (Labour) proposed, on May 19th, 1936, that civil air transport should be nationalised, or at any rate that the State should acquire ownership or control to the extent of the subsidy given. This proposal was repeated with more precision by Mr. F. Montague on the third reading of the Bill on July 1st, 1936. Imperial Airways, he urged, should be turned into a “public utility concern, more directly responsible to this House.” “It should belong to the whole community and should be developed for public purposes by the public.” A monopoly fostered by subsidies should not be allowed to create vested interests. The fact that at that time the £1 shares of Imperial Airways were quoted in the market at over 50s. was a pointed reminder that there was some substance in this fear.
Spaight, J.M. (1939), "Air Transport as a Public Utility: Some Reflections on the Recent Government Decision Regarding Imperial Airways and British Airways", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 11 No. 1, pp. 21-22. https://doi.org/10.1108/eb030422
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