The Six Huge Benefits from Airline Deregulation

Continuing my series on the deregulation of
the US airline industry in 1978, I have now published the latest two
articles.  This section was to be one single page article, listing
the benefits and positive outcomes subsequent to deregulation in 1978,
but the benefits and outcomes kept on coming, and it grew to two pages. 
May I suggest you go to the first article –

The Effects of Deregulation
, and then from there you can follow the
links to the second article,

The Benefits of Deregulation

There is a strange disconnect between the
articles I write which I feel to be truly good, and those which are
popular.  I guess this is a universal disparity which all creative
people struggle with, and each time I write something that I feel is a
really good piece of analysis or full of helpful information, I find myself fervently
hoping that it may prove to be popular as

The latest example is this growing
series on US airline deregulation.  The big surprise to me, in
hindsight, is how it has taken me so long to write about this topic. 
Maybe I sensed, over the many years it has been simmering in the
background, that it would end up being a major exposition rather than a
quick single page summary!  It is now projected to total seven long
pages of material and more than 10,000 words, and I am proud and pleased to offer the fourth and
fifth pages in the series to you now.

I am really enjoying writing this series,
because I am learning a great deal myself.  And therein is one of
the reasons why I feel this to be such a significant and important
series.  We all have this vague perception about before/after
deregulation, whether we were traveling prior to 1978 or not.  For
most of us, that perception is incomplete and probably also inaccurate

For example, just last week, I was reading
on a fairly reputable blog (sadly this is all too often an oxymoron) an unchallenged assertion that
airline safety standards have slipped since deregulation.  Well, as
you'll see in the second of the two pages released now, there has
admittedly been a massive change in safety and accident/fatality
statistics.  But – get this.  Airlines are 13 times safer now
than before!

You need to read this series to form a
more accurate and complete understanding of what has happened to the
airlines since deregulation.

2 thoughts on “The Six Huge Benefits from Airline Deregulation”

  1. While generally good articles it is frankly dishonest to quote employment figures that end in 1989 as a benefit. A quick search with google finds a figure of 378,000 workers in June 2010 – meaning almost all those additional jobs no longer exist. And we know that the various bankruptcies have led to much lower compensation for the remaining jobs. So there is a lot less to that benefit than you claim.
    I suspect you won’t be willing in the later articles to admit that deregulation, as practiced by recent administrations has some negatives: much less on-board comfort (which can actually have health consequences) and the domination of certain markets by one airline leading to much higher prices. If we look at regulation in less ideological terms it would be easier to find a compromise that allows business flexibility while giving an appropriate minimum level of service.

  2. Dear Bob – it is a shame you have nothing more substantial to say than to describe the article as ‘frankly dishonest’. I’ll refrain from matching ad hominem attack with the same, but on the other hand, I have to say it is frankly stupid to look at events 30 years after deregulation and attribute them the same weight and meaning as events immediately thereafter.
    You also conveniently and completely overlook the part of my discussion where I acknowledge recent reductions in airline employment numbers.
    The fact is that all industry these days has become more efficient and more productive. All industry has and/or is shedding jobs. And the further fact is that (and thanks to deregulation) the airline industry’s huge growth in passenger carrying means that whatever the ratio between passengers flown and employees, there is still vastly more jobs today than there would have been in a constrained regulated environment with fewer people flying.
    Lastly, you’re as wrong in your second paragraph as you are in your first, although I’ve no idea what you mean when you refer to looking at regulation in less ideological terms. Is that a way of saying ‘overlooking the inconvenient parts of regulation and focusing only on those parts which supports my point of view’?

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