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I think your point is generally spot on, but I wanted to nitpick at this one:

> airlines needed it

No, they didn't. Regulation of fares, routes and market entry of new airlines kept prices artificially high until airlines were deregulated in the late 70s. Quoting from Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airline_Deregulation_Act#Effec...): "A 1996 Government Accountability Office report found that the average fare per passenger mile was about nine percent lower in 1994 than in 1979. Between 1976 and 1990 the paid fare had declined approximately thirty percent in inflation-adjusted terms. Passenger loads have risen, partly because airlines can now transfer larger aircraft to longer, busier routes and replace them with smaller ones on shorter, lower-traffic routes."




If you push the fare comparison back to 1972, before the Arab Oil Embargo, rather than 1979, the heart of the Iranian embargo, the fare picture changes markedly.

A jet airliner's takeoff weight is over 50% fuel.

Robert Gorden inThe Rise and Fall of American Growth:

surprisingly, the period of most rapid decline in the real price of air travel occurred before the first flight of a jet plane. As shown in figure 11–10, the price of air travel relative to other goods and services declined rapidly from 1940 to 1960, declined at a slower rate from 1960 to 1980, and has experienced no decline at all in its relative price between 1980 and 2014. The growth rate of passenger miles traveled has mirrored the rate of change of the relative price except with the opposite sign, because lower prices stimulate the demand for any good or service.

The accompanying figure shows not merely a modest rise, but a sharp spike in airline pirces in 1979.

https://i.imgur.com/uykLMUa_d.jpg

Among Gordon's economic specialisations is the aviation industry.


Airlines are common carriers to this day, despite the reduction in regulations governing fares, routes, competition, etc.




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