By the early 1920s, small airlines were struggling to compete, and there was a movement towards increased rationalization and consolidation. In 1924, Imperial Airways was formed from the merger of Instone Air Line Company, British Marine Air Navigation, Daimler Airway and Handley Page Transport Co Ltd., to allow British airlines to compete with stiff competition from French and German airlines that were enjoying heavy government subsidies. The airline was a pioneer in surveying and opening up air routes across the world to serve far-flung parts of the British Empire and to enhance trade and integration.[14]
In recognition of the essential national economic role of a healthy aviation system, Congress authorized partial compensation of up to $5 billion in cash subject to review by the U.S. Department of Transportation and up to $10 billion in loan guarantees subject to review by a newly created Air Transportation Stabilization Board (ATSB). The applications to DOT for reimbursements were subjected to rigorous multi-year reviews not only by DOT program personnel but also by the Government Accountability Office[46] and the DOT Inspector General.[47][48]
Service during the early 1920s was sporadic: most airlines at the time were focused on carrying bags of mail. In 1925, however, the Ford Motor Company bought out the Stout Aircraft Company and began construction of the all-metal Ford Trimotor, which became the first successful American airliner. With a 12-passenger capacity, the Trimotor made passenger service potentially profitable.[29] Air service was seen as a supplement to rail service in the American transportation network.
Major airlines dominated their routes through aggressive pricing and additional capacity offerings, often swamping new start-ups. In the place of high barriers to entry imposed by regulation, the major airlines implemented an equally high barrier called loss leader pricing.[38] In this strategy an already established and dominant airline stomps out its competition by lowering airfares on specific routes, below the cost of operating on it, choking out any chance a start-up airline may have. The industry side effect is an overall drop in revenue and service quality.[39] Since deregulation in 1978 the average domestic ticket price has dropped by 40%.[40] So has airline employee pay. By incurring massive losses, the airlines of the USA now rely upon a scourge of cyclical Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings to continue doing business.[41] America West Airlines (which has since merged with US Airways) remained a significant survivor from this new entrant era, as dozens, even hundreds, have gone under. 
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