No time to reply to all worthwhile comments in detail, but some brief observation.
|Quoting commavia (Reply 68):|
My opinion hasn't changed from what it's long been - it is an absolutely fantastic thing that this industry is finally able to earn an entirely-reasonable, risk-appropriate return on capital and create value not only for shareholders, but also employees and other stakeholders. If that means that some "spoiled" consumers, who enjoyed far-too-low fares for far-too-long, are having to pay more (either through higher base fares, or higher fees), then so be it. It's called capitalism.
This argument has the situation precisely backwards. In the last decade, there was sufficient price and capacity competition, and passengers had appropriate airfares. The legacies were allowed to used bankruptcy court to trim their costs to be viable. Then, once they were achieving a certain amount of cost discipline (the true "discipline" that applies to airlines), so that they could make money on more reasonable fares, they simply merged to destroy competition. Airlines can make money without gouging, and history proves it.
|Quoting BMI727 (Reply 89):|
No it isn't. Utilities have to be treated differently because there is no practical way to build additional water mains or run five different sets of power lines for competing companies. Having an airline send a plane to fly between Point A and Point B is perfectly practical, and apparently quite popular as well, considering the number of startups even during very bad markets.
This comment ignores history, especially recent history. The airline industry has extremely high barriers to entry, it is not at all easy to start a competitive airline. George Soros had to spend over $100 million and have an unusual competitive window (slots available at JFK
) to found JetBlue. Very few airline startups succeed. It is *extremely* difficult to found and build a competitive airline that has a meaningful impact on industry fares and capacity.
|Quoting rbavfan (Reply 97):|
No they are not. Look at the cost of a plane compared to 20 years ago. It quite remarkable how much they went up. All the while air fares were flat or lower, fuel was high, crew cost grew & then were strangled into submission by all the bankrupcies & airlines bled to death. If you look at inflation airline fares are one of few things that have went down over the last 30 years.
Airline fares, as the Washington Post has indicated, have gone up substantially by the meaningful metric: the past decade. Only after about 2003 did the legacies start getting anywhere close to reasonable, deregulation-era cost structures. 20 years ago isn't entirely relevant.
|Quoting commavia (Reply 100):|
Exactly. Isn't it remarkable how there was no CNN report, let alone government inquiry, when airfares declined so dramatically in the decades before 2010?
Because it was reasonable and proper for airline fares to decline, since the cost of the industry was excessively high before the mid-2000's bankruptcies. Again, your view of the situation is precisely backwards.
Customers today are not paying 'what they should be paying.' They are being gouged for base fares, never mind all the nickel-and-dime nonsense such as baggage fees that are now common. As for the 'proof' one person asked for, Google "falling oil prices and airline fares" and that alone is proof, before we get to other factors.
Airlines are *a common, public good* and thus have an obligation to make their investors money while being good stewards of their public trust by controlling costs, and competing on *capacity and airfares* as well as service, FF
programs, networks, etc.