Air Transport World

And then there were.... (airline concentration) (editorial)

Consolidation or concentration of the airline industry was a major topic here in Washington in the late 1970s as we prepared for our grand adventure into deregulation. The opponents of deregulation claimed the airline industry would follow the course of most other industries in the U.S. Big airlines would devour little airlines and destroy each other in competitive struggles, and the end result would be an industry comprising a few giant corporations, or in other words it would become an oligopoly.

In the early years of deregulation the concentration issue faded into the background as the industry grappled with fuel crises, air traffic controller walkouts, world economic recession, airplane groundings and other terrors while at the same time groping about in the uncertainties of a deregulated industry. The large airlines--the ones that were to become the survivors of the predicted oligopolic catastrophe--had terrible problems simply surviving. …

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