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Abstract

The airline industry has been subjected to a number of shocks in recent years, ranging from an economic recession, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, war in the Middle East, and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic, contributing to several airline bankruptcies and record losses for the industry. Recent descriptions of an industry in chaos result from an understandable focus on individual airlines in the near-term. While the effects on individual airlines (downsizing, bankruptcy) are dramatic and some of the contemplated changes discussed in this paper (foreign ownership, common aviation markets, virtual travel concierges) seem revolutionary, they are the continuation of trends that began over a quarter century ago and will likely continue for the next quarter century.

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