Thornton, David W. (1995) "Open Skies vs. Closed Markets: State-Controlled Airlines and the European Airspace". In: UNSPECIFIED, Charleston, South Carolina. (Unpublished)
This paper examines current conditions in the west European airline sector against the general background sketched above of the character and development of the aeronautics industry. It assumes that the operation of aircraft for commercial purposes does not differ in its essentials from the rest of the sector of which it is an integral part. More specifically, the paper argues that during its entire history commercial aviation has been characterized by significant and sustained involvement of national governments in shaping, indeed determining, its structure and dynamics. Therefore, the airline business differs from other commercial activities in that all important aspects of its current configuration and operation reflect the intense and long-term influence of states. This has been especially true in the European context; that region was the fount of the very idea and practice of the states and we should therefore anticipate that past patterns would remain especially enduring there. The paper thus examines patterns of state involvement in the creation, ownership and operation of airlines, and shows how these enduring patterns have since WW II increasingly been at odds with powerful economic and political trends in Europe. Indeed, it seems today that the priorities of governments so clearly manifest in aeronautics are now coming into direct conflict with other equally important economic and political goals of those same states. Thus, in aeronautics generally and civil aviation in particular, technological and commercial forces encouraging cooperation and even integration run headlong into the concerns of states for their territorial and economic security.
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