High Anxiety for Major Airlines

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photoA financially-strapped United Airlines lost its third bid for government loan guarantees this week. But United isn't alone in its plight: other big carriers including Delta, American and US Airways are in the red.

Their struggle is the result of a plunge in passenger traffic after 9/11, high wage structures, and increasingly stiff competition from low-cost, no-frills carriers like Southwest, JetBlue, and AirTran. In this new environment, are the big airlines on their way to extinction, or will they be able to keep up with the newcomers?

Click the "Listen" link to hear about the airline industry's battle for the skies.


Micheline Maynard, staff writer covering the airline industry for The New York Times

Alfred Kahn, Professor of Political Economy at Cornell University, former chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board in the late 70's, and author of "Lessons from Deregulation: Telecommunications and Airlines after the Crunch"

David Neeleman, CEO of JetBlue Airways

Paul Dempsey , director of the Institute of Air and Space Law, McGill University and co-author of "Airline Deregulation and Laissez-Faire Mythology"

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst and a senior editor at The Atlantic Monthly

This program aired on July 1, 2004.


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