Which of the Major US Airlines Have Gone Bankrupt?

All of the major airlines in the US have gone bankrupt since 1989, with the exception of Southwest Airlines as of 2013. Southwest Airlines is thought to have escaped bankruptcy due to having a lower cost operation model than other airlines. The amount of bankruptcies by major US airlines increased after 1979, once they were no longer regulated by the Civil Aeronautics Board. These bankruptcies tend to be Chapter 11, in which companies can restructure by negotiating with creditors without necessarily surrendering their assets, rather than Chapter 7 in which all assets are liquidated and given to creditors.

More about airlines in the US:

  • As of 2013, the largest US major airline bankruptcy was UAL, the parent company of United Airlines. In 2002, the company filed for bankruptcy with $25.2 billion US Dollars (USD) in assets.

  • An estimated 11% of all leisure trips were taken by air in the US during 2012. For comparison, 79% of leisure trips were taken by automobile.

  • In 2012, airline passengers paid an estimated $3 billion USD in baggage fees to major US airlines.

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