ROBERT CRANDALL: This Industry Is Always in the Grip of Its Dumbest Competitors

American Airlines chairman Robert Crandall on waging the fare war

Q. American's new fares have ignited a vicious price-cutting war. Only six months ago, you insisted that airfares had to rise if the airlines were going to survive. Why have you reversed course?

A. Six months ago, I believed that prices had to rise because we simply could not make enough money to cover our costs. But I had not realized how slowly business travel had been growing in relation to overall air travel. Business travel had gotten too expensive, especially for small companies. During the past seven or eight years, a nonsensical fare structure had developed where we were all...

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