Air Transport World

The players. (impact of mergers in US airline industry)(Editorial)

Life in the airline industry was threatening to become fairly boring - in a relative sense - until USAir announced that it was making itself available for purchase by United or American. In a heartbeat, the entire U.S. airline industry was in play, because - as American Chairman and CEO Robert Crandall pointed out - each airline feels obliged to match size with size. His succinct pronouncement on the future of airline mergers in the U.S.: "There will be none or many." This observation, born from experience with several rounds of consolidation, rings true.

But will the fact that the U.S. airline industry of today is considerably more global than before make a difference in the outcome? Consider this: During the last wave of mergers, which began with United's purchase of Pan Am's Pacific Division, no non-U. …

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