Flyingsottsman
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Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:55 am

Hello A netters, always love aircraft and airliners, I remember when I was at high school around 1979 at lunch times going to the library and reading the aircraft books. You would see airlines like United, North West Orient, Pan Am, Continental, Eastern, Western etc etc, here in Australia we had the 2 airline policy Qantas was the Flag carrier of Australia while TAA and Ansett flew the domestic same fleets flying to the same cities within a half hour of each other. It was hard to believe that in the US how many airlines there was and how people flying domestic over there were riding on 747s, DC-10s Tri-Star's as well as the work horse's 727s DC-9's down here we did not have the 737s yet. I my first trip to the US was in Christmas of 1982/83 and seeing all those airlines amazing to me. My question is all the airlines that have disappeared from the US over the decades do you recon that say in another 10 years there will only be 3 major airlines left in the US as in United, American and Delta.
For example lets say 1982 there use to be what I call the first tier airlines

United, Pan Am, TWA, American, North West, Delta, Eastern Airlines, Western Airlines, Braniff (was already bankrupt) Continental Airlines.

What I call Second Tier airlines at the time

Republic, Piedmont, Alaska Airlines, PSA, America West, US Air, Hawaiian Airlines, World Airlines Jet Blue, Frontier, Sprit, South West, National Airlines,

Now I know some of these airlines are gone now, so lets have a look at who is gone.
1. Continental Airlines took New York Air, People Express, Texas Air only to be merged into United.
2. Pan Am took National Airlines only to go bankrupt in 1991.
3. North West Airlines took Republic Airlines only to be merged into Delta.
4. Eastern Airlines went bankrupt.
5. America West Airlines merged into US Air only to be merged into American Airlines.
6. TWA merged into American Airlines.
7. Braniff bankrupt
8.PSA bankrupt
9 Air Cal merged into American
10. World Airlines Bankrupt
11. AirTran merged into South West airlines
12. Western Airlines merged into Delta
They are some of the ones that I can think of, and no doubt I may have some of my facts wrong or missed some, I cant remember what happened to Premont if they were merged into North West. So out of all this United, American and Delta seem to be the dominant carriers with the way aviation is going in the US do you think that maybe in 10 or maybe 20 years time United, American and Delta will be the only 3 main airlines flying in the US ?
PS I know I am missing a whole heap of airlines that are still flying in the US now. Very interested min your thoughts.
 
flight152
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 8:57 am

The US has no “flag carriers”
 
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RWA380
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:25 am

flight152 wrote:
The US has no “flag carriers”


However, they do have carriers that fly the US flag & some that do not. I am guessing any airline that regularly flys internationally? But you are spot on, no US flag carrier.

Flyingscotsman, Republic acquired Hughes Airwest, Republic was formed by merging North Central, Southern Airways & Howard Hughes had purchased Airwest ( Formed from Bonanza, Pacific & West Coast Airlines, then put his name on everything. All of these carriers are part of Delta & they got Western too. Does this make Delta the big carnivore of mega carriers, here in the US?
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Flyingsottsman
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:33 am

By Flag carriers I mean an airline that represents a county overseas eg Qantas is Australia's flag carrier or El AL is the Israel's flag carrier or national airline maybe I should have said that.
 
Flyingsottsman
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:39 am

RWA380 wrote:
flight152 wrote:
The US has no “flag carriers”


However, they do have carriers that fly the US flag & some that do not. I am guessing any airline that regularly flys internationally? But you are spot on, no US flag carrier.

Flyingscotsman, Republic acquired Hughes Airwest, Republic was formed by merging North Central, Southern Airways & Howard Hughes had purchased Airwest ( Formed from Bonanza, Pacific & West Coast Airlines, then put his name on everything. All of these carriers are part of Delta & they got Western too. Does this make Delta the big carnivore of mega carriers, here in the US?


Ok very interesting I remember flying on Republic when was over there in 1983, that's what I mean with my question airlines like Delta, American, and United could they be the only airlines flying in the US in say a decade's time.
 
wjcandee
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:40 am

flight152 wrote:
The US has no “flag carriers”


Well, Part 121 carriers are divided up into Domestic, Flag and Supplemental operations; it's right there in the FARs. Accordingly, there are US carrier that are indeed considered Flag operators. However, to the extent that someone is using the definition to mean a government-owned carrier that operates as the sole or preferential international carrier, then no.
 
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RWA380
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:44 am

Flyingsottsman wrote:
RWA380 wrote:
flight152 wrote:
The US has no “flag carriers”


However, they do have carriers that fly the US flag & some that do not. I am guessing any airline that regularly flys internationally? But you are spot on, no US flag carrier.

Flyingscotsman, Republic acquired Hughes Airwest, Republic was formed by merging North Central, Southern Airways & Howard Hughes had purchased Airwest ( Formed from Bonanza, Pacific & West Coast Airlines, then put his name on everything. All of these carriers are part of Delta & they got Western too. Does this make Delta the big carnivore of mega carriers, here in the US?


Ok very interesting I remember flying on Republic when was over there in 1983, that's what I mean with my question airlines like Delta, American, and United could they be the only airlines flying in the US in say a decade's time.


I think the short answer is no. But I don’t think it does the subject justice. I am out of touch with the European markets, because I haven’t travelled overseas in years & I want to smack myself consistently being towed to Hawaii by my better half.

There are too many differnt types of flyers, that no three airlines can meet their he needs of. I expect us to have more restriction put on airline mergers & it seems airlines like Moxy are coming, ready to fill the domestic markets.
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RWA380
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 9:51 am

wjcandee wrote:
flight152 wrote:
The US has no “flag carriers”


Well, Part 121 carriers are divided up into Domestic, Flag and Supplemental operations; it's right there in the FARs. Accordingly, there are US carrier that are indeed considered Flag operators. However, to the extent that someone is using the definition to mean a government-owned carrier that operates as the sole or preferential international carrier, then no.


I was trying to say something like that. Not all US airlines fly the US flag. Unless I am mistaken, it is a grant from the government, likely a form & a fee. But I understood it to be only if the carrier operated scheduled routes out of the country.

I guess the closest think the US had to a flag carrier was Pan Am, as with many flag carriers of different countries, Flag carriers fly the most prestigious routes on the most prestigious aircraft, to impress the most prestigious people possible.

They also rarely operate domestic flights & they are often the carrier that had the largest worldwide reach, no one could have ever compared to Pan Am.
707, 717, 720, 727-1/2, 737-1/2/3/4/5/7/8/9, 747-1/2/3, 757, 767-2/3/4, 777-2/3, DC8, DC9, MD80/2/7/8, D10-1/3/4, M11, L10-2/5, A300/310/319/320
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Bobloblaw
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:01 am

No. UA, AA and DL don’t have the cost structure to serve the entire market that exists. There is clearly demand in markets that allegiant has created through their model. How do the legacies serve those markets? So unless a regulatory law prevents airlines like ULCCs, the answer is no. If anything the ULCC model still has more room to grow. We could see a ULCC with 500 planes 15 years from now.
 
c933103
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:26 am

If by flag carriers you mean major, international full service carrier, then it is already the case now.
This is a placeholder.
 
Max Q
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:28 am

It’s already happened


There’s United, American, Delta and the rest
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
Caluma350
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:31 am

The main thing to remember here is that no airline is ever to big to fail (Pam Am prime example) and with all the major U.S. carriers filling for chapter 11 (UA - 2002/ DL - 2005/ AA - 2011) in recent years it if fair to assume that they have all been miss managed over the years.

However you'd like to think they have all learned from their mistakes and should take advantage of the potential growth in the market over the coming years.
 
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Faro
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 10:52 am

Max Q wrote:
It’s already happened


There’s United, American, Delta and the rest



Correct today.

Remains to be seen whether in the future we will get the likes of AS, B6 and WN significantly expanding abroad...


Faro
The chalice not my son
 
PRAirbus
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:00 am

Spirit and Southwest are not going away...Alaska is a strong carrier; well known brand in the Pacific NW. I do wonder about Hawaiian's future; too small and running out of markets to expand. jetBlue's long awaited next step is about to be revealed. Who will be the next airline to fail or go away???
 
sprxUSA
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:31 am

PSA did not go bankrupt. They were acquired by US Air.

And it is Northwest, Southwest. One word each.
Gem State Airlines..."we have a gem of an airline"
 
mwearley
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:35 am

BTW-USAir acquired/merged with PSA and Piedmont. They were subsequently acquired by America West, but retained the USAirways name, but the America West callsign (Cactus). When AA went bankrupt, they were acquired by USAirways, but retained the identity as American. Somewhere along the way, USAir added "ways" to the end of their name. I am not sure what that did for them, other than the need to repaint everything. USAirways was set to merge with United, but Continental wooed United to merge with them instead.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:44 am

Caluma350 wrote:
The main thing to remember here is that no airline is ever to big to fail (Pam Am prime example) and with all the major U.S. carriers filling for chapter 11 (UA - 2002/ DL - 2005/ AA - 2011) in recent years it if fair to assume that they have all been miss managed over the years.

However you'd like to think they have all learned from their mistakes and should take advantage of the potential growth in the market over the coming years.


AA/DL/UA are all now much bigger (as fraction of domestics ASMs) than Pan Am was close to its termination date.

Many U.S. carriers have gone through Chapter 11 (some more than once...) but few big carriers have liquidated in the last 25 years. Post 9/11 there was the $10 Billion Federal loan guarantee program which propped up several carriers, including $900 million for US Airways. America West, ATA, Aloha, and Frontier were also recipients. IMHO, AA/DL/UA/WN are all now too big to fail. I don't see a good way to carve them up in liquidation, either, to keep the disruption to capacity short.

https://public.alpa.org/portals/alpa/ma ... on_p18.pdf

To the OP's question:

It depends on what you want to call major. AS has 329 aircraft; JetBlue, 253; Spirit, 133; all according to planespotters.net.
 
c933103
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:12 pm

Faro wrote:
Max Q wrote:
It’s already happened


There’s United, American, Delta and the rest



Correct today.

Remains to be seen whether in the future we will get the likes of AS, B6 and WN significantly expanding abroad...


Faro

Even if AS B6 WN HA and such all combined together and form a new airlines they will still be too domestic focused to be efficiently compete against other airlines internationally and to be recognized as such
This is a placeholder.
 
jimbo737
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:35 pm

Flag carriers?

Did I miss some kind of time warp and we're back to 1955?
 
LDRA
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 2:35 pm

Only "flag Carrier" in US is American Airliner. AA has stars and stripes painted on tail, so by definition
 
FlyHappy
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:16 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
By Flag carriers I mean an airline that represents a county overseas eg Qantas is Australia's flag carrier or El AL is the Israel's flag carrier or national airline maybe I should have said that.


is it this?

As already mentioned, US3 is already the only true International ops left, aside from small scale services to Asia/Latin Am/Caribbean by Hawaiian, Southwest, Spirit, Alaska and others. It seems unlikely that other US operators will ever gain critical mass of US3 to find it profitable enough to want to serve globally.
In fact, I cannot see how US3 can compete long term with operators from lower cost geographies or hubbed with geographical advantage. I see further shrinkage and reliance on JV's/alliance partners.

Flyingsottsman wrote:
that's what I mean with my question airlines like Delta, American, and United could they be the only airlines flying in the US in say a decade's time.


or this?

Domestically, the US market is too big, diverse and spread out to be limited only to US3. Its easily argued that Delta/United/American don't even do that well in direct competition with Southwest. Then there are the specialty markets of Hawaii, Alaska, sunshine vacations, small markets, etc, that easily support several more carriers many of which would be considered "large" by global standards. There are even still well-funded startups (Moxy), because the market is just too lucrative.

Flying in the US may be boring, low service, and comparatively rather expensive - but it is safe, predictable and stable, so that's an upside.
 
Aliqiout
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:23 pm

I think the only official use of the term flag carrier is in the Fly America Act, which says:

§ 301-10.133 What is a U.S. flag air carrier?
An air carrier which holds a certificate under 49 U.S.C. 41102 but does not include a foreign air carrier operating under a permit.

This includes airlines like Allegiant and Sun Country. If you mean something else by flag carrier than you need to refrase your question, otherwise everyone will be answering the question with a different understanding if what you are interested in.

Using the official definition, no there will never be just three.
 
ewt340
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 3:30 pm

Actually in terms of Full service airlines, I see another consolidation which would resulted in 2 Major Airlines in the US.

BUT, in LCC market, we could see another player coming into the top chart. JetBlue expansion and Spirit would probably be the next big thing.

And Alaska would be in Limbo, they either transformed to premium Full Service (highly unlikely) or turn around and became LCC. Which they would succeed in.
 
drdisque
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:34 pm

Spirit didn't exist in 1982. It was founded in 1984 and didn't begin scheduled operations until 1990.
 
crescent
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 4:45 pm

Antitrust will prevent any combination involving AA DL UA. WN has rarely felt an acquisition was smarter than expanding organically. The only sensical possibility is some combination of AS HA B6 to create a fifth large carrier. A combination of F9 NK G4 wouldnt be big enough at 300 aircraft to make much difference.
 
Bricktop
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:07 pm

crescent wrote:
Antitrust will prevent any combination involving AA DL UA. WN has rarely felt an acquisition was smarter than expanding organically. The only sensical possibility is some combination of AS HA B6 to create a fifth large carrier. A combination of F9 NK G4 wouldnt be big enough at 300 aircraft to make much difference.

Correct. There is no chance of a merger between any of UA, DL, or AA. I would even throw WN in there. As to the other “smaller” players that would be no surprise, but beyond that, uh uh.
 
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American 767
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 6:05 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:

Now I know some of these airlines are gone now, so lets have a look at who is gone.
1. Continental Airlines took New York Air, People Express, Texas Air only to be merged into United.
2. Pan Am took National Airlines only to go bankrupt in 1991.
3. North West Airlines took Republic Airlines only to be merged into Delta.
4. Eastern Airlines went bankrupt.
5. America West Airlines merged into US Air only to be merged into American Airlines.
6. TWA merged into American Airlines.
7. Braniff bankrupt
8.PSA bankrupt
9 Air Cal merged into American
10. World Airlines Bankrupt
11. AirTran merged into South West airlines
12. Western Airlines merged into Delta
They are some of the ones that I can think of, and no doubt I may have some of my facts wrong or missed some, I cant remember what happened to Premont if they were merged into North West. So out of all this United, American and Delta seem to be the dominant carriers with the way aviation is going in the US do you think that maybe in 10 or maybe 20 years time United, American and Delta will be the only 3 main airlines flying in the US ?
PS I know I am missing a whole heap of airlines that are still flying in the US now. Very interested min your thoughts.


Good comprehensive list of US based airlines from the past. Although I would add also these examples, as far as I can remember:

- Piedmont merged into US Air.
- Midway went bankrupt. Northwest was thinking of taking over but it didn't work out.
- The Trump Shuttle didn't last very long. Only three years, from buying the Eastern Shuttle to selling it to US Air.
- Flying Tigers merged into Federal Express, now Fed Ex.
- Reno Air merged into American.
- Ozark merged into TWA.

It's not a 100% certainty that American, United and Delta will always exist for ever, I'm talking about the far distant future. In this industry we never know what will happen in decades from now. If there was airliners.net 40 or 45 years ago, we would have seen posts like: "Will Pan Am, TWA and Eastern eventually end up being the 3 major US airlines?" Back then nobody thought any of these would ever fail. Almost 50 years ago when Southwest started with a fleet of only three airplanes on flights within Texas, nobody thought it would ever become a giant in the industry with hundreds of airplanes in its fleet.
Ben Soriano
 
GalebG4
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 7:23 pm

What you are asking is there more airline consolidation in US?
Honestly don’t know, it could be but it is complicated because US is huge. Huge market, many huge airports, four huge airlines(southwest has bigger seat capacity than United). We might see JetBlue with Delta, American or Southwest but it is extremely complicated to predict.
My answer to you is no, but four or five big network airlines in 10 to 20 year period yes, yes, yes 100%.
 
Airstud
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Wed Mar 27, 2019 11:48 pm

Flyingsottsman wrote:
5. America West Airlines merged into US Air


It was the other way around; America West acquired US Airways and adopted their name.

Flyingsottsman wrote:
I cant remember what happened to Premont if they were merged into North West.


Piedmont was acquired by USAir in the 1980's in what was at the time the largest airline merger in American history.
Pancakes are delicious.
 
PerVG
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Re: Could the US eventualy end up with just 3 major flag carriers

Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:21 am

drdisque wrote:
Spirit didn't exist in 1982. It was founded in 1984 and didn't begin scheduled operations until 1990.


Nor did JetBlue, who operated less than a year in the 20th century...

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