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The last flight for Sir Freddie

Sir Freddie Laker, the man who took on the nationalised airlines in the 1970s with his cheap “Skytrain” airline, only to go bust, has died at the age of 83, according to this report. Laker was, despite the failure of his venture, a hugely influential figure in the airline industry by daring to suggest that flight need not be the preserve of the wealthy. He laid down the model to be copied by the likes of Southwest, Easyjet and Ryanair. His tough business battle with BA also inspired Sir Richard Branson to have a crack at the privatised national carrier’s transatlantic business.

The economics of airlines has fascinated me, not least because as a business it has attracted some of the largest egos and some of the few remaining examples of buccaneering entrepreneur. Perhaps that is why we like them or even if we don’t, find them fascinating. They stand out from the grey suits. None more so than Sir Freddie.

On the subject of cheap airlines and their globalising impact, here is an excellent piece from a year ago by Matt Welch in Reason magazine.

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