"Time to Rethink Airline Deregulation" {Business, Sept. 13} is Hobart Rowen's latest reissue of his old tape.

Somehow, sometime the public ought to be allowed to hear a response to my question -- or at least hear the question: What does Mr. Rowen propose in the name of airline reregulation?

Does he want full government control of each route on which a carrier can fly? Does he want control of flight frequency? Does he want all fares subject to prior government approval? Or does he just want maximum fares regulated? Or does he want minimum fares regulated on the theory that low fares generate too much traffic congestion? Or does he want regulation of possible price discriminations between various routes or customer clauses?

If that were not enough, does Mr. Rowen want airline wages regulated to ensure that they do not rise the way they did before 1978? Or is he content to let them rise to any height and be passed on to the consumer?

There is enormous room for improved regulation of air carriers. Plane safety and crew training must be a core government concern, because the free market does not automatically ensure these things. Better consumer information concerning each cararier's on-time records and service quality would be useful and make the market work better. Airline merger regulation under the Department of Transportation has been a disaster for competition in several areas. All of these forms of regulation can and should be improved. But that is not the same thing as returning to anything like full rate and entry regulation as in the "good old days" of the Civial Aeronautics Board.

DONALD I. BAKER Washington The writer was assistant attorney general for antitrust in 1976-1977.