24 JANUARY 1931, Page 19


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—The. Italian Atlantic formation flight, with its three days of flying and twenty-six days of resting, once more shows up the deadly slowness of air travel. A man could have travelled from Rome by sea six thousand miles to Rio de Janeiro and back six thousand miles to Rome again in the twenty-nine days the aeroplanes have taken to reach Rio. And his two twelve-day sea voyages would have left him five days in Rio. Sea travel is a rest cure, air travel a night- mare and, after twenty-five years of aviation, the twenty-knot ship (with six hundred paying passengers and two thousand tons of paying cargo) still has More than twice the average speed of the one hundred and twenty m.p.h. plane, passenger- less, cargoless, and profitless.

Yet there are people who talk of " commercial " aviation!

[Our correspondent does not take count of the difference in age between the two methods of travel. In another twenty-five years the aeroplane will be far safer and more poweitirthan it is to-day.—En. Spectator.]