An airline has got to be the hardest business to run in this country, and maybe the world. An airline is at the mercy of everything from unions, to fuel prices, to accidents/incidents...not to mention competition from other airlines and the economy as a whole. Airlines go through hundreds of millions of dollars each year in just the cost of day-to-day operations...and in the end, only a handful turn a profit, and it's a small one at that. It's enough to make you question why ANYONE would want to put themselves through the agony of running a business like that.
Having said that, DL
appears to be the weaker of the three, and you know what that means, UA
will be ready to pounce when DL
's wounds get severe enough. Even worse, DL
will slowly get the life blood sucked out of it by LCC's until there's nothing left but the int'l stuff. AA
will survive on it's size alone...the bigger the giant the harder the fall...and that's a fall that the U.S. economy just can't allow to happen. As already stated, UA
has had the chance to reorganize, and should be in a better position to compete. US seems to have a disease for which there's no cure for. If DL
goes into Chpt. 11 now they can get out of this with their route structure, hubs, and finances intact...and I hope they do, because the idea of an all-AirTran hub at ATL
is NOT appealing to me.
Now, you can call me crazy, but a DL
-US merger might not be so out of the question...they would dominate the eastern U.S. which amounts to a great deal of pass. traffic...but I guess that idea is more of a "fantasy football" type of thing.