1st Edition

The Regulation of Air Transport From Protection to Liberalisation, and Back Again

By Barry Humphreys Copyright 2023
    266 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    266 Pages 6 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The regulation of modern civil aviation can be traced back to the later years of the Second World War. An intense debate about the future regulatory regime resulted in a compromise which to this day essentially dictates the structure of the global airline industry. Further progress towards ‘normalising’ the industry appears to be slowing down, and perhaps even going into reverse. Without an understanding of the development of regulation, it is not possible to understand fully the industry’s current problems and how they might be resolved.

    Many books have been written about the development of international air transport, covering deregulation, privatisation, the emergence of new business models among other things, but few if any have taken a broad view of the trends which have determined the industry’s current structure. The Regulation of Air Transport charts the development of aviation from the end of the Second World War to the present day, following the key trends and disruptive forces. It provides an overview of what has determined the industry’s current structure, the problems still facing the industry and the ways in which it could develop in the future.

    This wide-ranging study is important reading for both professionals and academics within the aviation field, as well as anyone interested in the broader development of economic regulation.


    1. Introduction
    2. The Beginning
    3. Growth and Disruption: Charters and Bermuda 2
    4. US Deregulation
    5. European Liberalisation
    6. Open Skies
    7. The Low-Cost Revolution
    8. Ownership and Control
    9. Technology and the Environment
    10. Airline Profitability
    11. Air Traffic Management
    12. Airport
    13. Summary, COVID and the Future



    Dr Barry Humphreys is an aviation consultant specialising in strategy and regulation. A former senior regulator with the UK Civil Aviation Authority and Director of Virgin Atlantic Airways, he subsequently chaired the trade body for UK airlines and was for several years a Non-Executive Director of NATS, the provider of air traffic control services in the UK. He currently chairs a start-up UK airline. In the 2016 New Year’s Honours List he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to aviation and charity.

    'This book is an excellent history of the major changes since World War II that have shaped today’s commercial aviation world. Aviation leaders, policy analysts, and academic researchers will find The Regulation of Air Transport to be a comprehensive guide to the policy revolutions that have shaped 21st-century aviation.'

    Robert PooleThe Reason Foundation, USA

    'This is a fundamental book for the library of anyone involved in aviation. Check it out!'

    Edward ClaytonPwC, Malaysia

    'If you have any interest in aviation regulatory developments over the past 80 years, this book is an interesting and enjoyable read. This is thanks in no small part to the inclusion of anecdotes and background snippets from people involved along the pathway of change. I thoroughly recommend this book!'

    Edmond RoseASM, UK

    'An excellent book. It's a treasure trove of information and ideas from one of the UK's leading experts.'

    Peter HarbisonGreener Airlines, Australia

    'Barry Humphreys is one of the best and most insightful commentators on aviation policy and regulation. He has written a book about the moves to and then back from liberalisation, which I have the pleasure of recommending.'

    Andrew CharltonAviation Advocacy, Switzerland 

    'Barry Humphreys paints a complete picture, combining descriptions of historical events with regulatory analysis and, where relevant, is supported by numbers and economic observations.'

    Niall Buissing, Managing Director & Partner, Lexavia & Managing Editor, Air and Space Law, the Netherlands