Wed, May 05, 2004
Three Airline Leaders See Big Changes Ahead
It's like watching a game of Russian roulette. The honchos of
the country's three biggest airlines, all sitting at the same
podium, all agreeing that a lot of legacy carriers will soon go the
way of the dodo. The biggest unasked question at the table: who's
gonna get it?
"There will be fewer of the legacy, or network carriers. What is
harder to fathom or figure out are which ones are going to make
it," said Gerard Arpey, CEO of American Airlines' parent company,
Speaking on a panel with Continental CEO Gordon Bethune and
Southwest President Jim Parker, Arpey wondered which of those at
the table would still be in business a few years from now.
Bethune agreed that the market might eventually only support two
or three legacy carriers. Surprisingly, they also agreed that the
number of low-cost carriers would also drop to around two or
"It is foolish to believe that all are going to fly," said
Parker, however, was more circumspect in his comments to the
panel in Fort Worth (TX). "I think there may be different airlines.
I don't know if there will be fewer airlines," he said.
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