A short course in airline economics
First. let’s establish that I’m no fan of of traveling … especially commercial air travel … via cattle-herding airlines.
That said, I scratch my head when folks characterize airlines as ruthless profiteers.
They may be ruthless but, I think, to be a profiteer a company has to make money, right?
Below is a chart that’s a bit dated, but makes a directional point.
The graph shows cumulative net income of US air carriers since 1938.
What is says:
Since that fateful day when Orville & Wilbur took off, U.S. airline companies have — as a group — LOST money.
There has been some recouping in the past decade — due mostly to consolidation — but not enough to get the industry back above the birth-to-date Mendoza line.
What’s going on?