My 2 cents worth...
I don't think it's likely that you'll see both UA
"go under", as in cease operations and cease to exist as companies.
has, and AA
may (depending upon whom one listens to) "go(ne) under" in the sense that Chapter 11 bankruptcy is filed, but that's a misnomer, since Chapter 11 allows one to keep operating while attempting a restructuring.
(and US) are in that mode right at the moment. If fears/concerns about the economy, war, and/or terrorism persist, it's entirely conceivable that other airlines could join UA
and US (and maybe AA
) in Chapter 11 proceedings. Other airlines filing Chapter 11 might be more for staying competitive as far as costs go, more so that pure financial condition.
All that said, there seems to be increasing buzz about UA
-not- making it out of Chapter 11, and changing their filing to a Chapter 7 liquidation. I hope it doesn't happen (for the sake of the employees and others personally affected), but if it did, many feel that AA
would be an -immediate- beneficiary by picking up some (but not all) of UA
's former ORD
traffic, given that AA
already has a sizable ORD
operation in place. Other airlines could (and would) fill-in some of the missing ORD
service, but AA
could benefit such that they either avoid a Chapter 11 filing entirely, or at least minimize their time in Chapter 11 (should they file) before exiting the bankruptcy process.
It's been said that the domestic airline industry has about 20% excess capacity, and UA
has about 20% of the market, so some think a UA
shutdown could make life easier for everyone. Depending upon the other factors (economy/war/terrorism), others might go into Chapter 11 (even after any UA
shutdown), but I don't think other airlines will end up disappearing in Chapter 7. I see the federal government taking industry-wide action (tax/fee relief, absorbing security costs, etc.) long before it gets to the point of not having a domestic industry.
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.