This consolidation will come with a cost: Experts believe that for the U.S. industry to shrink to a size that would allow the surviving carriers to earn a profit will require hefty fare hikes and a 20%-to-25% cut in capacity. That means fewer routes, fewer flights, and even more crowded planes. The biggest losers would be smaller cities like Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Baton Rouge, La., that became accustomed to dozens of daily flights, usually on 50-seat jets that the majors use to feed traffic to their hubs. But oil priced near $130 has rendered those smaller jets uneconomical, meaning that carriers are likely to fly one much larger plane on marginal routes each day, but no more. "We might keep one flight just to keep Congress off our back," muses one industry executive.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Business Week Headline: "You Think Flying is Bad Now...":