Column: With industry in crisis, experts question deregulation

09/3/2008 | USA Today

Thirty years after the landmark Airline Deregulation Act went into effect, lawmakers and industry experts are no longer unanimous that deregulation was a boon for U.S. fliers. Bankruptcies, higher prices and widespread service cuts have helped spark talk of re-regulating the airline industry. "Three decades of deregulation have demonstrated that airlines have special characteristics incompatible with a completely unregulated environment," says Robert Crandall, former CEO of American Airlines. "To put things bluntly, experience has established that market forces alone cannot and will not produce a satisfactory airline industry, which clearly needs some help to solve its pricing, cost, and operating problems."

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