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Teddy Kennedy's Aviation Legacy  
User currently offlineAirFrnt From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2829 posts, RR: 42
Posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2768 times:

In 1975 Teddy Kennedy was looking to make a run for the presidency in the wake of the Nixon implosion. In the time honoured tradition of American politics, he grabbed onto two Nixon/Ford initiatives - one to reduce collusion in trucking, the other to reduce collusion in airlines - as a cornerstone initiative for his campaign run. This eventually became airline deregulation. While Kennedy ended up sitting out the 1976 cycle, he ran against the man who had signed the Airline deregulation act - President Carter in 1980.

While deregulation has a bad rap among romanticists here - TWA, Pan Am and Eastern were all doomed well before deregulation occurred - it's important to note that the bill actually hit it's main objectives (from deregulation)


  • the maintenance of safety as the highest priority in air commerce;
  • placing maximum reliance on competition in providing air transportation services;
  • the encouragement of air service at major urban areas through secondary or satellite airports;
  • the avoidance of unreasonable industry concentration which would tend to allow one or more air carriers to unreasonably increase prices, reduce services, or exclude competition; and
  • the encouragement of entry into air transportation markets by new air carriers, the encouragement of entry into additional markets by existing air carriers, and the continued strengthening of small air carriers.


Not a single goal listed above was the preservation of existing carriers. While many of the legacies were already doomed - Deregulation in fact was thought to be a critical aspect of healing their woes by allowing route diversification - I suspect that in retrospect Kennedy would have not have pushed the bill if he had not decided on a center push prior to a election. The union and labour inspired collapses at many of the legacies would cost the Democratic party dearly over the next decades.

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2713 times:



Quoting AirFrnt (Thread starter):
the avoidance of unreasonable industry concentration which would tend to allow one or more air carriers to unreasonably increase prices, reduce services, or exclude competition;

When you look at what "hub pricing by dominant carriers" commands on many routes (for lack of a better phrase), I'd say this goal has never been realized.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2692 times:



Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 1):
Quoting AirFrnt (Thread starter):
the avoidance of unreasonable industry concentration which would tend to allow one or more air carriers to unreasonably increase prices, reduce services, or exclude competition;

When you look at what "hub pricing by dominant carriers" commands on many routes (for lack of a better phrase), I'd say this goal has never been realized.

Who's to determine what "unreasonably" increasing prices is? Perhaps prices that are too low are unreasonable, below what can be reasonably assumed to be a profitable fare. It's the consumer who decides what is reasonable or unreasonable, by voting with their feet. If a consumer decides that a fare is unreasonably high, between a certain city pair, they can certainly find another way to go......there are alternatives.

The airlines are NOT a public utility. They are in business to make money.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineAeroWesty From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 20822 posts, RR: 62
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2617 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 2):
Who's to determine what "unreasonably" increasing prices is?

If you re-read my post, I carefully avoided using increasing prices as the sole criteria of "hub pricing". We've all seen airlines drop fares as well to wear down new competitors in a market, in the attempt to "exclude competition", which is opposite of the stated goal I quoted.

Quoting Mayor (Reply 2):
The airlines are NOT a public utility. They are in business to make money.

The gestalt of my reply was that all things considered, deregulation most likely underestimated the airlines' determination and ability to eliminate competition via hub strategies once they were free to pick and choose at will the network they wanted to fly, then protect it accordingly.



International Homo of Mystery
User currently offlineFrmrCAPCADET From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1741 posts, RR: 1
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2598 times:



Quoting AirFrnt (Thread starter):
Not a single goal listed above was the preservation of existing carriers. While many of the legacies were already doomed - Deregulation in fact was thought to be a critical aspect of healing their woes by allowing route diversification - I suspect that in retrospect Kennedy would have not have pushed the bill if he had not decided on a center push prior to a election. The union and labour inspired collapses at many of the legacies would cost the Democratic party dearly over the next decades.

Nice thread, good summary, Thanks.

ps And yes, competition and the market have downsides as well as the more common upsides.



Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)
User currently offlineMayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2527 times:



Quoting AeroWesty (Reply 3):
The gestalt of my reply was that all things considered, deregulation most likely underestimated the airlines' determination and ability to eliminate competition via hub strategies once they were free to pick and choose at will the network they wanted to fly, then protect it accordingly.

Like most government programs, it was extremely shortsighted.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineAirFrnt From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 2829 posts, RR: 42
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2444 times:



Quoting Mayor (Reply 2):
The airlines are NOT a public utility. They are in business to make money.

Funny enough, that was exactly the view that was in place prior to deregulation.

Quoting Mayor (Reply 5):
Like most government programs, it was extremely shortsighted.

Not really. While it hasn't turned the aviation companies into panacea's for investors (no heavily unionized workforce ever will be), it certainly fixed the immediate collapse of the airlines due to rapidly expanding airline ticket price problems. Remember that Pan Am was closer to collapse before deregulation then after. It wasn't until they gobbled National that they doomed themselves.


User currently offlinePnwtraveler From Canada, joined Jun 2007, 2296 posts, RR: 12
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2356 times:

Beyond the legislative side of Teddy and the rest of the Kennedy family, they all share quite a number of aviation tragedies. I don't know of another family that has had so many. Joseph Jr. the oldest son was a fighter pilot, was killed in action in WWII. Kathleen died in southern France in a plane crash. And of course John Jr. and Carolyn who died in the most recent air crash.

User currently offlineSLCUT2777 From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 4136 posts, RR: 9
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 2050 times:



Quoting Pnwtraveler (Reply 7):
Beyond the legislative side of Teddy and the rest of the Kennedy family, they all share quite a number of aviation tragedies. I don't know of another family that has had so many. Joseph Jr. the oldest son was a fighter pilot, was killed in action in WWII. Kathleen died in southern France in a plane crash. And of course John Jr. and Carolyn who died in the most recent air crash.

Quite interestingly, Ted Kennedy survived a plane crash that gave him his chronically bad back for the rest of his life in 1964 in western Massachusetts.



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