Local News

Is the Airline Industry in a Tailspin?

Posted April 11, 2008

— Frontier Airlines on Friday became the latest airline to file for bankruptcy.

In the past four days, American Airlines has canceled almost 2,500 flights affecting more than 300,000 passengers – at least 600 on Friday – 10 at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

The airline says it expects to be fully operational by the end of the weekend.

But some experts say it's another frustrating sign that the industry's image is quickly losing altitude.

"It hasn't been a pleasant experience in the past few years," local travel agent Tony Maupin says.

High fuel prices are making it more unsettling for airlines, Maupin said.

"Prices have gone up but not as quickly as we would expect them to go up," he said.

Instead, the airlines are charging extra for things like more than one bag, for curbside check-in and for sitting in an exit row.

"I think you will see some consolidation taking place," Maupin said. "It has to for this industry to survive."

He says that with less competition, it is likely prices will increase. But the quality of service could also improve, he said.

"Ii think you'll see more seats with greater comfort, perhaps massages."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Travised Apr 11, 2008


    The FAA has regulations and can issue fines. Until they are aware of said violations there is nothing they an do. It's like saying thats what MPAA and RIAA are for, keeping people from making copies of copyrighted material. It doesn't work like that They are not a monkey on the airplanes back 24-7.

    There are some standards, such as the inspection before flight, upkeep of the airplane, sleep and pilot physical standards to insure safety, annual physicals the pilots MUST have to maintain their license, required vision tests. Beyond that it is up to the companies if they wish to do drug screening on a weekly basis or not (some can!).

    FAA sets standards for the aircraft, pilot standards, runway standards, weather criteria (IFR.VFR), however they can't force a persons hand to the point most people think. FAA has no regs on cellphones (YES!) it's the FCC that does have a standard on that. However the airline can have a policy against phone usage.

  • Travised Apr 11, 2008

    It sounded like AA may not have followed up on the Service Notices issued on the MD80.. Private aircraft owners must follow up if there is an issue like Cessna had with the 172 a few times, once just this year, and the other recent one was with the exhaust. Older models had issues with the door latch and back of seat (that was YEARS ago) BUT we still had to bring it in and PAY for the inspection even if we were up to date on the aircrafts safety cert.

    You have to remember, airlines are private. It is not the same as the city bus system. They don't get the fuel for free. Discounted, YES, free, no. They pay substantially less than a private pilot would. They try to stay in the black financially. Thats why most have dropped food service, save money. Upkeep of aircrafts is the one thing they can't skimp on. That is a tight control. They can try to hire low hour pilots for less pay that senior pilots demand. It's a tough industry to make a dollar in.

  • blackdog Apr 11, 2008

    ...the FAA isn't helping...