From the past, a blast. Deregulation, like success, has many fathers when times are good, but those fathers and architects sometimes fade intro the woodwork when airlines are caught up in real turbulence. Not so for Alfred Kahn, who is one of the few to earn the title and one of the few to stand consistently for what he believes in. As chairman of the old Civil Aeronautics Board, he led the movement to deregulate US airlines in 1978. Now 91, he's still active and sharp of mind and tongue, and spoke this week to the world gathering of airport types at the Airport Council International's big global summit in Boston. Kahn reminded the 2,000 delegates, "The industry in the last 30 years gave the public something it had not received before: high quality, space, and low cost. It catered to a variety of demands and abilities today so that we had an enormous spread of fares. It offered the people upgrades such as business class and frequent flyer miles."
But Kahn, who now teaches at Cornell University, noted that increased air traffic has led to congestion, which has led to delays and unhappy flyers and that has led to calls for government reregulation.