There are only eight railroads and 10 major trucking companies. These transportation segments are competitive and yet the carriers continue to make large investments in technology, service offerings and performance to offer a more superior service today than a decade ago while still holding annual price increases at less than 5 percent.

In all transportation modes, density is a key to achieving lower operating cost and higher level of service. Increased passenger density in the airline industry - more seats filled on each plane - will provide more direct flights.

For large cities like Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia, greater density will allow airlines to reintroduce larger jet service with higher on-time arrival and departure and at lower cost than is feasible with regional jets.

Airline consolidation, if managed to avoid control by a single airline in any one market, will ensure a bright future for the industry and bring back for fliers the golden days of air travel at current low fares.

Get the full story at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution