In 1985 the United States was home to 24 airlines. Today there are 7. The Justice Departments under Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush II and Obama welcomed all mergers. Then in August 2013 the antitrust division of the Justice Department suddenly discovered why there is an antitrust division.
According to the New York Times, “But antitrust officials said on Tuesday that despite the cost savings for the carriers from consolidation, domestic airfares, on average, had increased much faster than inflation over the last several years, prompting the department to revise its thinking about what was best for the consumer…And the fares varied greatly, often depending on the level of competition.”
“Justice Dept. Alters View of Mergers By Airlines.” New York Times. August 15, 2013