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Soft Landing: Airline Industry Strategy, Service, and Safety

Book Description

Soft Landing: Airline Industry Strategy, Service, and Safety covers the immediate past, present, and future of the airline industry and its effects on consumers and the economy.

Aviation receives a disproportionate amount of news coverage in the popular press—not to mention chatter at cocktail parties and workplaces around the world. And why not? Aviation represents a sector of the U.S economy, for example, exceeded in size only by the real estate, healthcare, and automotive industries. Furthermore, hundreds of millions of people fly each year, including 80 million Americans.

So we all have airline stories—experiencing a delay and losing a business deal, spending a night or three in the airport, dealing with ornery airline personnel, losing money on airline stocks, or being involved in a near miss. (Or, as George Carlin more accurately put it, a "near hit.")

But things might be on the upswing. Knocked to its knees by 9/11 and a decade of falling revenue and rising losses, the industry's "flying cheap" strategy and organizational efficiencies based partly on outsourcing have appear to have helped passengers and profitability return. As this book explains, we can look forward to better technology and infrastructure, speedier—and easier—travel, more effective and less invasive security measures, and more jobs in the air and on the ground.

Turbulence is always a possibility. Rising fuel costs, economic uncertainty, and future terror attacks could cause tumult once again. Plus, airline companies intend to charge us extra for everything from the weight of our own bodies to use of the bathroom. But as the industry has discovered, we'll put up with that—and more—if we can make it to our destinations with bags intact and a smaller dent in our wallets.

Soft Landing will:

  • Sort out the promise and perils facing the airlines

  • Analyze and articulate the potential impact of changes in the aviation industry on passengers, airports, governments, the global economy, and the airlines themselves

  • Give airline passengers worldwide an idea of what's ahead when it comes to airline service, security, and technology

What you'll learn

  • How the airline industry has become the world's greatest "loss leader"

  • What globalization does and does not mean for the industry

  • How terrorists will become more innovative in continued attempts to destroy airplanes and airports

  • How technology and new, innovative aircraft will make flying easier, faster, and more fun

  • How aviation security will evolve

  • What the consolidation of major carriers means for consumers

  • Why airline employee unions in the U.S. will not survive in their present form

  • What air travel will be like in the future

  • Why air travel is exponentially cheaper than at any other time in history and what the "flying cheap" strategy means

Who this book is for

The millions of people currently employed by some facet of the airline industry (2 million in the U.S. alone), not to mention the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who fly each year. This book will also interest investors still trying to make money on airline stocks after all these years, government officials pondering economic development or bond issues for airports, security officials and entrepreneurs whose livelihoods are tied to aviation, travel agents, manufacturers, and many others.

Table of Contents

  1. Title
  2. Other Books By Andrew R. Thomas
  3. Dedication
  4. Contents
  5. About the Author
  6. Acknowledgments
  7. Part 1: The Past
    1. Chapter 1: You Cannot Be Serious!
      1. How Can You Say That?!
      2. Contradiction and Imperfection
      3. So Why Should You Care?
      4. But Is It Really an Industry?
      5. Stability: Our Best Hope
      6. Finally, a New Era for the Airline Industry?
      7. What Does More Stability Mean for Us?
    2. Chapter 2: The World’s Greatest Loss Leader
      1. In the Beginning…
      2. Regulation
      3. Deregulation
      4. Lobbying and the Airline Industry
      5. 9/11 and the Great Bailout: A Case Study of the Influence of the Industry
    3. Chapter 3: The Airline Industry and the Globalization Paradox
      1. Presently: Semi-Globalization
      2. Dealing with the International Component
      3. Protectionism Is the Rule
      4. Isn’t Anti-Globalization Self-Defeating?
  8. Part 2: The Present
    1. Chapter 4: Flying Cheap, Part 1
      1. Ticket Prices After Deregulation and Before 1992
      2. Recession, Desert Storm, and the Summer of ’92
      3. Air Travel Becomes a Commodity
      4. What about First Class and Business Class Passengers?
      5. Where Is the Soft Landing?
      6. The Expectation Gap and Air Travel
      7. Unbundling of Different Products and Services
      8. Leveraging Technology and Regaining Control
      9. Improving Passenger Load Factors
      10. So What Does This Mean for Passengers?
    2. Chapter 5: Flying Cheap, Part 2
      1. Outsourcing and the Airline Industry
      2. The Outsourcing of Whole Airlines
      3. The Outsourcing of Aircraft Maintenance
      4. Can We Trust the FAA to Properly Regulate and Oversee All This Outsourcing?
      5. Regulating the Regionals
      6. Regulating Outsourced Maintenance
    3. Chapter 6: The (D)evolution of Aviation Security and the Birth of the TSA
      1. Market Forces Come to Dominate the FAA
      2. A Great Job Lobbying
      3. 9/11 and the Aviation Security Breakdown
      4. 9/11 and the Intelligence Breakdown
      5. Not A Novel Idea
      6. A Prescient Sage Emerges
      7. The Creation of the TSA
      8. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act
    4. Chapter 7: Touching Your Junk and Viewing Your Cavity
      1. Early Security Breaches
      2. The Turning Point
      3. The Scourge of Our Time
      4. What We Do to Ourselves
      5. The “Booty Bomb” and A Day in Our Future
      6. Changing the Current Course
  9. Part 3: The Future
    1. Chapter 8: Turbulence Ahead for Airline Unions and High-Paying Jobs
      1. The Empty Seat Syndrome
      2. Unions and the Airline Industry in the U.S.
      3. Eating Their Own
      4. The View in Europe
      5. But the Industry is Hiring, and Hiring Big!
      6. One Other Possible Threat to Airline Workers on the Horizon
    2. Chapter 9: The Future Is Now
      1. The Coke and Pepsi of Commercial Aviation
      2. Pots Call Kettles Black
      3. The Future Is Now
      4. Reducing the High Impact of Fuel Costs
      5. Shrinking the Industry's Carbon Footprint
    3. Chapter 10: Infrastructure Spiffed?
      1. The First Airports
      2. Transitions in the Current Airport Model
      3. Air Traffic Control and Navigation: A Brief History in the U.S.
      4. Waiting and Waiting for Progress
      5. The Next Generation Air Transportation Program (NextGen)
      6. How Serious Is This?
      7. Air Cargo and the Airlines
      8. Holding On at All Costs
    4. Chapter 11: Flying in Our Future
      1. So What Changes Should Passengers Expect Flying in Their Future?
      2. So What Won't Change Much?
      3. What Are the Potential Threats to the Soft Landing?
      4. And the Winner is . . .
  10. Appendix A: GAO Report on Aviation Security
    1. AVIATION SECURITY
  11. Index