Reason’s Bob Poole examines if air travel is safer now, what we should do to improve things, and offers a big picture view of the industry: Two years after 9/11, how is air travel doing? Not well. To begin with, the industry was already moving into recession in the months prior to the terrorist attack, and remains mired in one to this day. It has been estimated by the Air Transport Association that the “hassle factor” due to intrusive airport screening is costing the airlines about $3 billion a year in lost business. But could there be a silver lining? [The] combination of the recession and security concerns has also triggered a long-overdue restructuring of the airline business model. What’s often overlooked is that not all airlines are losing money. Two that have been consistently profitable are low-fare leaders Southwest and JetBlue. TheyÃ¢â?¬â??and other low-fare, low-cost carriers (LCCs) such as AirTran and FrontierÃ¢â?¬â??appear to have figured out a better business model, or at least a large and profitable market niche. Instead of offering “full service”Ã¢â?¬â??maximum number of connections, meals, etc.Ã¢â?¬â??they have focused on reliable, cheap air transportation to a growing number of popular cities. They also have several unique advantages that contribute to significantly lower costs than the “legacy” carriers. Read the rest of the article here.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.