As Delta's struggle to deal with massive amounts of debt unfolds over the next several months, a Miami University economist can assist reporters in covering the story:
• Miami economics professor Jim Brock can put the Delta situation into context by providing information on the airline industry in general. Brock, who holds a named chair* in Miami's Richard T. Farmer School of Business, is author of a leading economics textbook* that analyzes major American industries, including the airline industry.
Delta's financial problems since 9/11 aren't really new, says Brock, but rather underscore continuing problems within the industry, many of them due to major consolidations.
"The problem is that Delta is a high-cost airline built on the assumption of powerful regional hub monopolies, but those monopolies are extremely high cost ventures. That business model when combined with powerful pilots union isn't viable in the competitive airline industry," he says.
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•Brock is the Bill R. Moeckel Professor of Economics and author of the "The Structure of American Industry," the 11th edition of which was published in 2004 by Prenticehall. He is also author of the "The Bigness Complex" and "Dangerous Pursuits: Mergers and Acquisitions in the Age of Wall Street."