Deregulation of the Airline Industry

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Deregulation of the U.S. airline industry has resulted in ticket prices dropping by a third, on an inflation-adjusted basis. As a result some 1.6 million people fly on 4,000 aircraft every day. Airlines carried 643 million passengers in 1998, a 25% increase over 1993 and the FAA estimates that the nation¡¦s airline system will have to accommodate 917 million passengers by the year 2008. The growth in air travel threatens to overwhelm the presently inadequate air traffic control system, which has …

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…the spacing between flights, imposing ground holds and using other techniques that reduce system capacity. The airlines alone waste $3 billion a year in fuel and crew time due to the delays. Wasted passenger time is estimated at several billion dollars more. The FAA¡¦s National Airspace System Architecture Version 4.0 looks very impressive on paper, but given their track record in regards to modernization, maybe we should be looking at alternatives to a thinly stretched bureaucracy.