A Note on the US Airline Industry

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

Case Details:


Case Code : BSTR139 For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges


Corporate Restructuring
Case Length : 24 Pages
Period : 2001-2004
Organization : Varied
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note : Not Available
Countries : U.S.A
Industry : Airlines


The US airline industry traces its roots to 1903, when the Wright Brothers accomplished the first successful flight. In over a century of evolution, the industry has undergone a number of changes.

The case discusses the major events that occurred in the US airline industry over the years, such as deregulation, the Gulf War and September 11 attacks, and their effects on the dynamics of the industry.

The structure of the industry is determined by analyzing its key strategic dimensions. The case also discusses the key challenges faced by the industry and concludes with an examination of consolidation as an option for the future.


To understand the evolution of the US airline industry and the different stages in its lifecycle

To analyze the different factors that determine the structure of the industry

To study the growth of low cost airlines in the industry and analyze the reasons for their increasing market share

To examine the chief challenges faced by the companies operating in the industry and how these challenges may be met

To analyze the outlook for the industry and to discuss consolidation as an option for the future


  Page No.
Bankruptcies Galore 1
Early History 2
Deregulation 3
September 11 and its Aftermath 4
Profile of the Industry 5
The Low Cost Revolution 8
Key Challenges 9
Is Consolidation an Option? 13
The Outlook 14
Exhibits 15


US Airline Industry, Low cost carriers, US Airways, Southwest Airlines, JetBlue Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Debt burden, No-frills airlines, Labor unions, Legacy carriers, Frequent Flier programs, Overcapacity, Rising Fuel Prices and Consolidation.

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