Future of the Airlines

March 7, 2008 • Volume 18, Issue 10
Do passengers need a bill of rights?
By Peter Katel

Introduction

A recent spate of near-collisions on runways has raised concerns about airline safety and prompted renewed calls for an overhaul of the country's aging, radar-based air traffic control system and a speed-up in hiring a new generation of controllers.  (National Air Traffic Controllers Association)
A recent spate of near-collisions on runways has raised concerns about airline safety and prompted renewed calls for an overhaul of the country's aging, radar-based air traffic control system and a speed-up in hiring a new generation of controllers. (National Air Traffic Controllers Association)

These are difficult times for the U.S. airline industry, what with angry passengers and politicians, outmoded air traffic control technology and a recent spike in near-collisions on runways. Meanwhile, the struggling industry continues to consolidate. Delta and Northwest are trying to merge — a move that would create the second consolidated airline since 2005 — and at least two other carriers could follow suit. The merger trend is motivated by economic realities, including major fuel price hikes. But consumer advocates and some lawmakers argue that mergers will lead to poorer service and higher costs. In recent years, hundreds of passengers have been kept on grounded planes without adequate food, water or functioning toilets for more than 10 hours in some cases. The airlines blame episodic weather events and say the government needs to modernize air traffic control. To cut costs, airlines also are outsourcing aircraft maintenance, but investigators worry whether appropriate oversight is possible for contractors abroad.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Air Transportation
May 15, 2015  Airline Safety
Oct. 18, 2013  Domestic Drones
Mar. 07, 2008  Future of the Airlines
Jun. 21, 2002  Future of the Airline Industry
Sep. 24, 1999  Airline Industry Problems
Oct. 08, 1993  Airline Safety
Oct. 24, 1986  Airline Deregulation
Oct. 19, 1984  Safety in the Air
Nov. 26, 1982  Troubled Air Transport Industry
Jun. 25, 1976  Air Safety
Mar. 21, 1975  Air-Fare Control
Jan. 27, 1971  Future of the Airlines
Sep. 10, 1969  Jumbo Jets: New Travel Era
Feb. 22, 1967  Airport Modernization
Mar. 18, 1964  Supersonic Transport Race
Feb. 07, 1962  Troubles of the Airlines
May 11, 1960  Prevention of Air Accidents
Sep. 17, 1958  Safety in the Air
May 23, 1956  Jet Age Problems
May 20, 1953  Safer Flying
Feb. 26, 1947  Air Safety
Jun. 08, 1944  Domestic Air Transportation
Apr. 08, 1944  International Air Transport
Mar. 02, 1939  Transatlantic Air Commerce
Jul. 14, 1927  Commercial Aeronautics
Jun. 20, 1925  Development of Commercial Air Navigation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Air Safety and Security
Air Transportation
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