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Delta merger could mean lower fares

Most of the opinions expressed here since US Airways announced its intention to buy and merge with Delta have been of the negative variety. Certainly, those predictions have merit. But as the Washington Post points out, there’s the potential for a huge (and unintended) upside as well.

“A potential merger between US Airways and Delta Air Lines would force the combined airline to shed some overlapping services,” writes the Post‘s Kyle Peterson, “but the sale of assets could open the door to low-cost competitors and spark a new fare war.”

How so? Imagine low-cost trendsetters like JetBlue and Southwest moving to fill the vacuum created by the routes and airport gates shed by the Delta/US Airways behemoth. Suddenly we’re looking at the potential for massive East Coast expansion by airlines with a proven track record for bringing down fares on the routes they operate.

Now whether or not it would actually play out like that is a matter open to debate. The possibility, though, is an appealing one—and not so far-fetched, either.

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