End Airline Protectionism: Allow Foreign Carriers on Domestic Routes 21 hours agoRyan McMakenIn the wake of the United Airlines debacle — in which the airline had airport police assault one of its own customers — customers have begun to ask why there doesn't seem to be more competition for United to contend with. They ask: would United treat its customers so poorly if they had more competition? Maybe not. Is the Airline Industry Competitive? Compared to governments — which enjoy near-absolute monopolies — airlines are quite competitive. But compared to many private-sector industries, they are not especially competitive. It is true that a small number of firms dominate the airline business in North America. Investopedia claims the three top carriers enjoy 70 percent of the business, and Salon and the NYT say the top four enjoy 80 percent. By the numbers provided here, we find that the top four combing for around 80 percent according to 2015 enplaned passengers: Nevertheless, the fact that there are only a handful of firms dominating the industry does not prove that the airline business is an oligopoly or a cartel or is "non-competitive." True oligopolies and monopolies can only exist when governments fully prevent firms from entering the marketplace.
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