U.S. Airlines:

Weak Financial Structure Threatens Competition

T-RCED-91-6: Published: Feb 6, 1991. Publicly Released: Feb 6, 1991.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO discussed the financial condition of the airline industry and its effects on competition. GAO noted that: (1) high debt levels increased substantially for some carriers between 1980 and 1990; (2) some carriers' operating and marketing practices prevented other carriers from competing effectively; (3) such short-term problems as the recession and high fuel prices worsened some carriers' financial problems; (4) financial problems threatened the survival of several carriers; (5) future investment demands for replacing and renovating aircraft could impose further financial strains; and (6) if additional carriers failed to survive the recession, competition would be adversely affected. In addition, GAO noted that several policy incentives could promote competition and financial health by: (1) reducing the price of jet fuel; (2) allowing airlines to retain revenues from the airline ticket tax; (3) reregulation of fares; (4) opening U.S. airlines to more foreign investment; (5) improving access to airports; and (6) reducing barriers resulting from marketing practices. GAO also noted that further delay by the Department of Transportation in considering such reforms may render them ineffective.

Mar 2, 2021

Feb 18, 2021

Jan 28, 2021

Jan 7, 2021

Dec 18, 2020

Dec 17, 2020

Nov 24, 2020

Nov 19, 2020

Nov 16, 2020

Nov 9, 2020

Looking for more? Browse all our products here