Air Transport World

Accidental pioneers. .(full-service airlines)(Editorial)

A speaker was explaining the business philosophy du jour, exhorting our group to be risk-takers like the pioneers of old blazing a new path through the frontier while the timid hung back and asked, "Is it safe yet?" Cynics couldn't help remembering that those behavior models occasionally ended up losing a scalp while gaining an arrow or two.

No, it isn't safe, and the problem is that sometimes what seems safe turns ugly--fast. And so it has been for the US full-service network carriers, a group with a business model so thoroughly discredited that its members now are referred to as "legacy airlines."

This is the group that by the end of this new year will have lost more than $4 billion for the third consecutive year, a new and highly dubious record of business futility. …

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