Following the mixed success of the Brabazon programme of civil aircraft development immediately after the Second World War, from the early 1950s, the Conservative government sought to encourage "private venture" civil projects. This policy depended on orders from the nationalised airlines: in return they expected to shape specifications - with a direct affect on two key airliners. By the end of the 1950s, both the VC10 and the Trident were experiencing commercial problems at a time when the government wanted to drive home its merger policy. This necessitated the return of direct government support in the form of repayable launch aid. But too late to save either aircraft from failure in the world market - or BOAC from bankruptcy.
Keith Hayward was a professor in International Relations at Staffordshire University, Head of Economic and Political Affairs at the SBAC, and Head of Research at the Royal Aeronautical Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and l'Académie de l'Air et de l'Espace de France. He has consulted for several European aerospace companies and has been an adviser and research contractor to the House of Commons, the UK Government, the EU and ESA. He is the author of five books and over a hundred articles and chapters on aerospace and defence subjects. He now writes full time on historical and contemporary aerospace and aviation subjects.
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