Today's airline industry is radically different from what it was prior to 1978. At that time, the industry resembled a public utility, with a government agency, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), determining the routes each airline flew and overseeing the prices they charged. Today, it is a market-driven industry, with customer demand determining the levels of service and price.
The turning point was the Airline Deregulation Act, approved by Congress on October 24, 1978 and signed into law four days later by President Jimmy Carter. Pressure for airline deregulation had been building for many years, particularly among economists who pointed out, in numerous studies, that unregulated intrastate airfares were substantially lower than fares for interstate flights of comparable distances. However, it was a series of developments in the mid-1970s that intensified the pressure and brought the issue to a head. more>>