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The Boston Globe

Business

Mergers putting US airlines on a solid course

A string of mergers among big carriers is bringing long-awaited stability to the industry, analysts say

From the 1970s until the early 2000s, as many as 10 major US carriers regularly slugged it out in the skies. But they were also bleeding money, forcing many into bankruptcy — and into mergers with competitors.

But if the latest merger between American Airlines and US Airways is completed this fall as expected, it could usher in a new era for the industry, and for travelers. Just four carriers would control 85 percent of the domestic market, culminating a period of consolidation that analysts say has helped transform a “chronically sick industry” into a profitable one.

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