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One consequence of the industry's consolidation is a cut-back in flight schedules over the past four years that has resulted in an approximately 7% decrease in overall flights, according to a The flight cuts haven't been distributed equally.

The second hardest hit airport after Memphis: Newport News in Virginia, which experienced a flight schedule shrinkage of 51%, in part due to Southwest's cancellation of service to the city after acquiring Air Tran, according to the Journal.

Even when the recent merger between Alaska and Virgin America was announced, they largely remained unmoved by the move, which represents around 5% of the total domestic market. In Canada, Air Canada and West Jet combine to control 80% of the market, whilst in Mexico the top three airlines account for over 70%.

That amounts to just under 70% of the total market for the top four airlines.

A case in point is the sharp drop in oil prices over the past year, which should lead to a decline in airfares.

While I was cautiously optimistic that this might happen, I suggested in December that the lack of industry competition would likely prevent fares from following crude prices lower.

They included two budget airlines, each set up in 2014.

Now the local industry is undergoing a spasm of consolidation.

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airline industry's landscape shifted from nine large airlines to four mega-carriers that make up a combined 80% of all U. Airports that are frequently used as hubs to connect flights rather than as final destinations — such as Memphis and Cleveland — saw the number flights shrink 66% and 44.6%, respectively.

Air travelers are probably well aware that this is exactly what happened.

The most recent Department of Transportation data show inflation-adjusted airfares in the fourth quarter were 2% higher than a year earlier, even though the price of jet fuel was down 25% over the same period.

With the announcement of the United/Continental merger in 2012, many experts thought that the dance was over and all the partners had been neatly paired off to shape the future of the U. When the US Air/American Airlines merger was complete, experts again thought that a neat bow had been tied around the industry consolidation. Current International Landscape I cannot think of many other countries where indeed the market is this fragmented.

Finally corporate programs could take all those decisions off the back burner and move forward with their airline strategies with a clear understanding of the landscape. We then have a significant gap between those and the next group, which includes Jet Blue (5.3%), Alaska (4.5%), and Spirit (2.6%).

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