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Consolidation in the US: How 25 Airlines Became Three

Consolidation in the US: How 25 Airlines Became Three

Hard to believe, but once upon a time there was a planned economy in aviation in the United States. Its end led to the bankruptcy of dozens of airlines – and eventually three brands made the company big.

Who holds the soul? In fact, Frontier was courting the competitor first. Then Jetblue shows interest, too. But the yellow low-cost airline has repeatedly given new expectations a cold shoulder. How this will turn out is still unclear at the moment.

Regardless of the contract winner, the goal is clear: The Big Four must have a new strong contender. The new number five will be in the United States, after America, Delta, Southwest and United.

American gathers the most under him

It would be another step in the unification that has been taking place in the United States since the 1970s. A look at the big three traditional carriers, Delta, American and United, shows just how much the airline landscape has changed: the three airlines are the remainder of the 25 they once were.

Most airlines congregate under the direction of American Airlines today. Twelve brands are now one. TWA, Eastern Air Lines, Mohawk Airlines, US Airways, American West, Ozark, Air California, Piedmont, Reno, Pacific Southwest and Trump Shuttle are now part of the airline.

The world’s largest airline was born

Southern Airlines, North Central Airlines, Northwest Airlines, Western Airlines, and Northeast Airlines have merged into Delta. United includes Continental, People Express, Texas International Airlines and New York Airways. Both United and Delta received parts from Pan Am and National.

The final step in this massive merger came with the merger of American Airlines and US Airways in 2013, creating the world’s largest airline. United and Continental were previously merged.

The planned economy is over

However, the reason for this massive consolidation goes back years: the Airline Liberalization Act of 1978. The government under President Jimmy Carter decided to liberalize aviation in the country, ending the period of the central government’s economy. In fact, until then, the CAB had authority over prices and routes.

The agency had to ensure that all areas of the country were well serviced and that the United States was well connected to the world. But processing times for new methods sometimes take forever – and sometimes the whole thing just didn’t happen after all. For example, in 1967, World Airways applied to operate low-cost flights between New York and Los Angeles. It took the Civil Aviation Board six years to process, only to reject the application. It is old.

More than 100 cases of bankruptcy

The Deregulation Act put an end to this. However, this also made dozens of airlines unprofitable in the decades that followed. As a result, more than 100 airlines went bankrupt or were taken over.