Thursday, July 28, 2016

Is Aircraft Speed Overregulated?

In a thought-provoking post over at George Mason University's Mercatus Center, Eli Dourado and Michael Kotrus draw attention to an area of aircraft regulation that is rarely discussed: aircraft speed. The post argues that innovation in air travel has been hampered by the four-decade-old ban  on supersonic air travel, which has discouraged aircraft manufacturers from pursuing speed gains in development of new aircraft. The authors contend that the original reasons for the ban, fears of the negative externalities created by supersonic booms, could be addressed through the same regulatory solutions with which aircraft noise is presently controlled. The blanket ban, by their account, has denied consumers significant potential gains in reduced travel times that may outweigh whatever negative consequences accompany supersonic travel.

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