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140 U.S. Airline Bankruptcies Since Deregulation

Thu Feb 02, 2006 3:53 pm

I had no idea it was this bad. But apparently there have been 140 bankruptcies filed by U.S. airlines since deregulation in 1978.

I know this is an evil word but is reregulation the answer?

The info about the 140 bankruptcies comes from this article.
Indy = Indianapolis and not Independence Air
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RE: 140 U.S. Airline Bankruptcies Since Deregulation

Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:44 pm

Yeah, that's pretty bad. But keep in mind also that a lot of those bankruptcies came from carriers that started up well after deregulation.

I'll give you an example of one.

Sun Jet International, a fly-by-night operation I had the misfortune to work for (MX) in the mid 1990's. This airline started with the most dogged tired aircraft I ever worked on. (1960's-1970's vintage DC-9's) These aircraft constantly needed work on numerous systems. The spare parts inventory was non-existent. The parts vendor they used was a joke. We had a 50/50 chance of these "overhauled" parts failing installation test so right there we had to wait until another part to be shipped in, causing delays and cancellations. I never seen an airline take more delays and cancellations for such a small fleet. (6 aircraft)

In the end this is what did Sun Jet in. They filed for bankruptcy in June 97 and ceased all operations. They came back 2 years later renamed South East Airlines. Then a few years later they once again ceased operations and filed for bankruptcy. They haven't come back since.

The point I'm trying to make is there have been a lot of fly-by-night airlines that have come and gone since deregulation driving those Ch. 11 filings up so high.
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
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RE: 140 U.S. Airline Bankruptcies Since Deregulation

Thu Feb 02, 2006 5:54 pm


Sun Jet started up in 1993 if I have my dates right with two MD-81s, bringing on the DC-9s a bit later on. They were responsible for one of the shortest lived carriers post de-regulation, Jet US, who flew I believe for one week (if that) on a DTW-EWR scheduled route. N817SJ was the plane on lease to them. Reason they failed was that the plane had a mechanical issue when it got to EWR that grounded it and they did not have their spare, N818SJ, up and running yet.
I flew Sun Jet many a time between EWR-DFW during the days where I lived and worked in NJ/EWR and my girlfriend at the time was in DFW. Got my first ever flight deck ride on N817SJ in fact...will never forget that, cant say the same about the girlfriend.

"Irregardless, it's a Cat III airplane, we don't need an alternate!"
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RE: 140 U.S. Airline Bankruptcies Since Deregulation

Thu Feb 02, 2006 7:04 pm

I forgot to add the MD-80's in my post. Sorry about that.

You are correct about the start up date and the type aircraft they started with. N817SJ and N818SJ were MD-81's both built in 1981. It didn't matter though, the mad dogs were just as "dogged" out as the DC-9's. As a matter of fact Sun Jet's 2 DC-9-30's flew better with less delays and cancellations than the MD-80's.

Anyhow I just wanted to get my point out.

Glad you got a jumpseat ride.  Smile
Sorry about the girlfriend.  Sad
Is it broke...? Yeah I'll fix it.
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RE: 140 U.S. Airline Bankruptcies Since Deregulation

Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:28 pm

Also, many, many, many of those bankruptcies can be attributed to combinations (and in some prime examples, all of these and more) of expanding too fast, minimal start-up funding, operating with the wrong equipment type(s) (to include the afformentioned "ragged-out aircraft"), operating in poor market pairings (MIA-LIT-OMA-LAS as was the case with Northeastern back in the 80's), changing demographics and/or piss-poor management.


[Edited 2006-02-02 13:29:11]
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