Published at Tuesday, April 02nd, 2019 - 16:18:04 PM. Type of airline. By Anson Busch.
In many ways the biggest winner in the deregulated environment was the air passenger. Although not exclusively attributable to deregulation indeed the U.S. witnessed an explosive growth in demand for air travel. Many millions who had never or rarely flown before became regular fliers even joining frequent flyer loyalty programs and receiving free flights and other benefits from their flying. New services and higher frequencies meant that business fliers could fly to another city do business and return the same day from almost any point in the country. Air travel s advantages put long distance intercity railroad travel and bus lines under pressure with most of the latter having withered away whilst the former is still protected under nationalization through the continuing existence of Amtrak.
Ultimately the federal government provided $4.6 billion in one-time subject-to-income-tax cash payments to 427 U.S. air carriers with no provision for repayment essentially a gift from the taxpayers. (Passenger carriers operating scheduled service received approximately $4 billion subject to tax.) 48 In addition the ATSB approved loan guarantees to six airlines totaling approximately $1.6 billion. Data from the U.S. Treasury Department show that the government recouped the $1.6 billion and a profit of $339 million from the fees interest and purchase of discounted airline stock associated with loan guarantees.
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