Arthur Reed, aviation author and broadcaster, who has died aged 76,
was almost the last of the internationally recognised British air
correspondents who were gradually abolished by the national newspapers
in the 1980s.
He was air correspondent for The Times from
1967-81, and European editor of America’s prestigious Air Transport
World for more than 20 years until suffering a severe stroke five years
Quiet and unassuming, yet immensely knowledgeable and
capable, he covered the start of the jet age, leading to mass air
travel, and the introduction of Concorde.
Colin Marshall, until
recently chairman of British Airways, and now Lord Marshall said of
him: “Any report or commentary appearing under Arthur’s name was
compelling and instructive reading for all of us in the industry…He has an honoured place in the history of modern aviation.”
Flint, executive editor of Air Transport World, cabled from Washington:
“He was funny, dedicated, a fount of knowledge about the industry, and
despite being one of the grand old men of letters in British aviation
journalism, never took himself too seriously.”
Reed was born in South London, and educated at John Ruskin Grammar
School, Croydon. Aged 17, he applied for a job on the Surrey Times ,
and when he replied “Yes” to the question “Can you ride a bike?” his
journalistic career began. It was interrupted by two years national
service as a radio operator in the RAF.
Afterwards he worked in
Portsmouth for the Evening News and had two years with the Press
Association reporting from the House of Commons press gallery before
joining The Times in 1961, rising to be deputy home news editor before
becoming its air correspondent.
Air correspondents were going out
of fashion by 1981 (partly as a result of pressure from Downing Street;
– politicians always found them much too knowledgeable!)n So Arthur
took voluntary redundancy.
He continued working for The Times as a freelance while turning out some 20 books on aviation.
found an outlet for his sense of humour by writing and acting in the
annual pantomime for his local amateur dramatic society, and his
version of Babes in the Wood was playing there when he died.
He is survived by his wife Muriel, a son and daughter and three grandchildren.
Reginald Turnill, aerospace writer and broadcaster