Airline industries have been subject to deregulation efforts both nationally and internationally. While some restrictions to market entry remain both in airline markets and ground services – subject to late deregulation battles –, global integration of air transportation and related markets has come a long way. Current and future regulatory debates are likely to shift focus: The agenda is being set by infrastructure and air space limits, denationalization of industrial relations, and the rising concern about climate change in particular. How do airlines and the various interest groups involved react to the post-deregulation challenges? Does consolidation proceed and will it extend to the various political fields, or does an urgent sense of competition prevail between individual airlines and different groups or factions of carriers (e.g. trunk, low cost, freight etc.)? Lack of the necessary (global) industry coordination and cooperation in the face of political uncertainty is a threat to the industry. The question is urgent due to recent developments such as the integration of airlines into European emission trading regimes, a considerable shift of airline governance to European and international levels, and the difficulties involved in developing a corresponding build up of transnational industry and – more recently – trade union capacities.
Dr. Dieter Plehwe, Social Science Research Center Berlin