Special Report: Airline Giants: The Sky Kings Rule the Routes

The Sky Kings Rule the Routes A decade of dogfights and mergers has eliminated hundreds of carriers and triggered fears that the surviving behemoths will send prices rocketing

As the summer travel season gets under way, many Americans are suddenly feeling nostalgic for the airfares they paid just a vacation or two ago. Since January, ticket prices have risen an average of more than 15%, inducing a form of sticker shock in consumers who have grown accustomed to deep discounts in the decade since airline deregulation. But the kind of cutthroat competition that produced those fares is fading fast. After a severe shake-out in which some 214 airlines disappeared or merged into hardier carriers, the industry is concentrated in fewer hands than ever before. Gone from the runways are...

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