Airline Deregulation – Another in a Long List of Deregulation Failures
A small airport outside of
Atlanta is considering
offering a very limited commercial air service. Now in the United States, supposedly the home
of free enterprise, this should be an inalienable right, right. But Delta Airline is fighting the move, big time.
|Silver Comet Field hopes to handle up to four commercial flights a day at its one-gate terminal, pictured, about 30 miles from downtown Atlanta.|
Delta is saying little publicly about its effort, except for an
Journal-Constitution opinion piece in
which a senior executive said that "a second airport can quickly expand,
and the impact on Hartsfield-Jackson would be significant." Atlanta
The executive, Holden Shannon, said the airport has room for more airlines and warned that competition would threaten "
's economy." Atlanta
The same executive sent a letter to the chairman of the
Commission, the airport's owner, alleging that Silver Comet's plans were
hatched in secrecy, circumvented an environmental review and have put local
taxpayers at risk. Paulding County
Wow, competition threatens the economy!! Who knew there were a bunch of Commies running one of
largest airlines. Of course the real
reason for the opposition is this.
Atlanta has only Hartsfield, which handles 1,000 outbound flights daily for Delta. The carrier accounts for about 78% of the airport's passenger traffic.
Several decades ago the airline industry was de-regulated. This was done, of course, with the promise that passengers and the public would benefit from competition. Reality is that the airlines have slowly moved toward monopoly status, the most recent and probably not final action (Southwest and that Jet Blue airline merging soon?) being the merger of American and US Airways. Delta has 78% of the traffic at the world's largest airport? How is that 'free enterprise'?
Americans are in love with de-rgulation. Banking was largely de-regulated in the last 20 years. How did that work out? Oh the system nearly collapsed and would have collapsed without taxpayer intervention. Electricity has been largely de-regulated. That resulted in Enron, rolling blackouts in
California and a lot of
Business says it love free enterprise, but in truth it hates competition. A competitive market is not a stable equilibrium. Companies in a highly competitive market will act to change the market into a largely monopolistic one. The only thing that stops this is government regulation, primarily in the form of anti-trust action. The failure here of government is one of the rare instances where Democrats and Republicans alike are at blame. Thanks go equally to Mr. Obama and Mr. Bush here.