The American-US Airways union is the fourth merger in five years, following the consolidation of Delta and Northwest Airlines, United and Continental, and Southwest Airlines and AirTran Airways. When the deal is approved, more than 85 percent of domestic capacity will be controlled by just four carriers, said Seth Kaplan, managing partner of the trade publication Airline Weekly: America, Delta, United, and Southwest. Ten years ago, the four biggest airlines accounted for less than 60 percent of domestic capacity.
Even with all the recent consolidation, the airline industry is still more competitive than most, Kaplan noted. In Boston, he said, “You probably have more airlines than cellphone providers.”