Increasingly since 1978, US airlines have been reincorporated and spun off by newly created and internally led management companies, and thus becoming nothing more than operating units and subsidiaries with limited financially decisive control. Among some of these holding companies and parent companies which are relatively well known, are the UAL Corporation, along with the AMR Corporation, among a long list of airline holding companies sometime recognized worldwide. Less recognized are the private equity firms which often seize managerial, financial, and board of directors control of distressed airline companies by temporarily investing large sums of capital in air carriers, to rescheme an airlines assets into a profitable organization or liquidating an air carrier of their profitable and worthwhile routes and business operations.
Congress passed the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (P.L. 107-42) in response to a severe liquidity crisis facing the already-troubled airline industry in the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Through the ATSB Congress sought to provide cash infusions to carriers for both the cost of the four-day federal shutdown of the airlines and the incremental losses incurred through December 31, 2001, as a result of the terrorist attacks. This resulted in the first government bailout of the 21st century. Between 2000 and 2005 US airlines lost $30 billion with wage cuts of over $15 billion and 100,000 employees laid off.
The United States, Australia, and to a lesser extent Brazil, Mexico, India, the United Kingdom, and Japan have "deregulated" their airlines. In the past, these governments dictated airfares, route networks, and other operational requirements for each airline. Since deregulation, airlines have been largely free to negotiate their own operating arrangements with different airports, enter and exit routes easily, and to levy airfares and supply flights according to market demand. The entry barriers for new airlines are lower in a deregulated market, and so the U.S. has seen hundreds of airlines start up (sometimes for only a brief operating period). This has produced far greater competition than before deregulation in most markets. The added competition, together with pricing freedom, means that new entrants often take market share with highly reduced rates that, to a limited degree, full service airlines must match. This is a major constraint on profitability for established carriers, which tend to have a higher cost base.
The next big boost for the airlines would come in the 1970s, when the Boeing 747, McDonnell Douglas DC-10, and Lockheed L-1011 inaugurated widebody ("jumbo jet") service, which is still the standard in international travel. The Tupolev Tu-144 and its Western counterpart, Concorde, made supersonic travel a reality. Concorde first flew in 1969 and operated through 2003. In 1972, Airbus began producing Europe's most commercially successful line of airliners to date. The added efficiencies for these aircraft were often not in speed, but in passenger capacity, payload, and range. Airbus also features modern electronic cockpits that were common across their aircraft to enable pilots to fly multiple models with minimal cross-training.
In view of the congestion apparent at many international airports, the ownership of slots at certain airports (the right to take-off or land an aircraft at a particular time of day or night) has become a significant tradable asset for many airlines. Clearly take-off slots at popular times of the day can be critical in attracting the more profitable business traveler to a given airline's flight and in establishing a competitive advantage against a competing airline.
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.
Excellent choice of islands, though getting between them presents one or two challenges (they are not as conveniently connected like the Cycladic or Dodecanese islands so island hopping is not as popular in this island group). All three islands are served by airports with year-round connections to Athens and in the Summer with international charter flights from Europe. Let’s take the pros and cons of each island.