Airline Deregulation:

Changes in Airfares, Service, and Safety at Small, Medium-Sized, and Large Communities

RCED-96-79: Published: Apr 19, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 1996.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO examined the deregulation of the airline industry, focusing on: (1) airfares and the quantity, quality, and safety of air service since deregulation.

GAO noted that: (1) the average fare per passenger mile is 9 percent lower at small-community airports, 11 percent lower at medium-sized airports, and 8 percent lower at large-community airports; (2) the largest increase in fares occurred in the Southeast and Appalachian regions, and the largest decrease occurred in the West and Southwestern regions; (3) this geographic disparity exists because of the intense competition between low-cost, new carriers in the west and dominant, high-maintenance carriers in the Southeast; (4) the overall quantity of air service at airports has increased, but large communities have experienced the largest increase; (5) air service quality is difficult to measure and depends on the number of destinations served by nonstop flights and one-stop connections, and the type of aircraft used; (6) air service quality since deregulation has been mixed largely due to the airlines hub networks and greater use of turboprop aircraft; and (7) the overall accident rate since deregulation has dropped, but there are no statistically significant differences in air safety trends for any of the airport groups.

Jan 16, 2018

Dec 21, 2017

Dec 14, 2017

Dec 4, 2017

Nov 30, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 31, 2017

Oct 26, 2017

Oct 5, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here