Unfriendly Skies: Forty Years of Airline Deregulation Failure

An excellent analysis was sent to the aiReform administrator, along with this email comment:

“This is the best article I have seen in a VERY long time about the biggest hoax ever perpetrated on the traveling public, airline deregulation.”


He’s right. David Dayen did a fantastic job writing “Unfriendly Skies: It’s time to admit that airline deregulation has failed passengers, workers—and economic efficiency.”

A paragraph from the opening page of the article.

Mr. Dayen points out the role of all politicians, at both political extremes, in passing the Airline Deregulation Act in 1978; he debunks the myth of lower costs and higher efficiencies that actually did not happen, and shows evidence of FAA’s expanding regulatory capture; he also bears down on how the airline industry is a microcosmic example of the rise of oligopolies, that change processes and markets for their narrow benefit while imposing great costs onto many of us.

Click here to view Mr. Dayen’s source article at American Prospect, or click/scroll below to read a PDF archived copy with aiREFORM annotations.

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

Despite Big Profits, U.S. Airlines Are Whining about New Competition

Scott Hamilton, at Leeham News and Comment, has been a top news investigator in the commercial aircraft manufacturing industry for nearly three decades. His articles go deep, and they commonly go a bit further, even covering the airlines. His blog, LeehamNews.com, always informs.

Scott just posted ‘Pontifications: Qatar Air adds US service, US airlines ramp up whining’. He offers a relatively detailed summary of the 1978 deregulation of U.S. airlines, and the slow evolution away from competition and toward narrow consolidation, over the decades since. He also looks at US3 versus ME3, referring to today’s top three U.S. airlines (American, Delta and United), versus the new and fast-growing Middle East airlines (Emirates, Etihad and Qatar).

The Post is an interesting read. And, as always, LeehamNews’ quality base of readers offer some excellent comments. Here is one comment, looking at the hypocrisy of the US3 complaining about new competition from foreign airlines:

These same morons running the Airlines are perfectly fine with deregulation and free trade as long as it means _they_ can outsource labor and manufacturing to Myanmar at $0.50 and hour, but god forbid any “damn furriners” use it to compete against them.
The US3 airlines (and their regional sweatshop affiliates) need to be taken down by unrestricted competition.The “foreign ownership” restrictions are BS protectionism.
Government subsidies to fly into unprofitable markets need to be eliminated (if you want to talk about subsidies, US3, what about these pork barrel constructs?)
The so called “free market capitalists” running America/ American businesses are only interested in their own freedom to profit, while constructing a system that guarantees their cartel’s market control in perpetuity.