One never knows what’s going to happen in the airline industry, one year from now let alone 10. Individual airline fortunes can turn fast, in response to changing economic conditions (i.e. a big recession), radical cost restructuring (like that which Delta undertook), new business tactics (like charging for bags and other ancillaries), government policies (i.e. open skies treaties), mergers (the list here is long), collapsing competitors (also a long list), new technologies (i.e. B787s), and of course the rise and fall of fuel prices.
So it’s no use wasting time trying to guess whether Alitalia will finally disappear this decade, or conversely be saved by another 10 or twenty government bailouts, on its way to mercilessly driving Ryanair and easyJet out of the Italian market (it’s O.K., you can laugh). What is worthwhile, however, is a discussion of the key forces and trends poised to shape the airline industry this decade, some for good, some for ill.
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