Monopolizing the Fortress Hub

By | August 12, 2009
Monopoly Justice
Image by mtsofan via Flickr

So, now Continental has gotten AirTran out of Newark in exchange for slots at LaGuardia and National, where they are hardly a powerhouse. Delta is taking over US Airways extensive regional slots at LaGuardia, and US Airways is getting international route permissions and greater dominance at Washington National.

It allows Continental, US Airways, and Delta Air Lines to get something they want…greater control of the market in a city. We feel like we’re in the old days of the Civil Aeronautics Board, where you had to apply for permission to fly a route, and competition was carefully regulated. Of course, with no less competition, you can bet fares will not be as carefully controlled, although the economy will certainly take care of that.

There is good. Delta will get a more modern and certainly nicer facility than it has. It will be able to stop operating its flights from two different parts of the airport. That problem is now one for US Airways, but they’ve just sold out most of their connecting traffic via New York. Most of their passengers will now be originating or terminating there, we predict, even if they connect in another city. Delta is not leaving National…other than leaving it to be dominated more by US Airways.

But we are reasonable. Let’s see what benefits come of this change. Hopefully, when the airlines get what they want, the passengers will too.

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