NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

On the Persistent Financial Losses of U.S. Airlines: A Preliminary Exploration

Severin Borenstein

NBER Working Paper No. 16744
Issued in January 2011

---- Acknowledgements -----

In 2010, I was a member of the USDOT's Future of Aviation Advisory Committee. I also advised the U.S. Department of Justice in its analysis of the proposed merger between Continental and United Airlines. For helpful comments and discussions, I am grateful to Silke Forbes, Will Gillespie, Ken Heyer, Paul Joskow, Nancy Rose and Catherine Wolfram. A short version of this paper is forthcoming in the May 2011 American Economic Review Papers and Proceedings under the title "Why Can't U.S. Airlines Make Money?''. This paper is dedicated to the memory of Alfred E. Kahn who passed away on December 27, 2010. I was lucky enough to work for Fred at the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1978 and to speak with him occasionally since then about the airline industry and government regulation. His approach to industrial organization and regulation, and the application of research to non-partisan policy making, set a standard to which all IO economists should aspire. His insights continue to influence the best research on economic regulation. He was the very model of a modern (and thoughtful) IO economist. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

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