Our sympathy goes out to the family of Senator Kennedy. We were fortunate to see Senator Kennedy onboard our aircraft from time to time out of our Providence Station. We also owe the Senator a great thank you for his early and staunch support of airline deregulation, which allowed Southwest Airlines to carry our low fares beyond the borders of Texas.
In fact, his name was attached to the Airline Reform Act of 1977 (Cannon-Kennedy-Pearson Air transportation Reform Act), which when passed, became the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. In his opening statement for the 1977 hearings by the Subcommittee on Administrative Practice and Procedure of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Senator wrote: “Regulators all too often encourage or approve unreasonably high prices, inadequate service, and anticompetitive behavior. The cost of this regulation is always passed on to the consumer. And that cost is astronomical.” This legislation let carriers like PSA, Air California, and Southwest spread their low fares beyond California and Texas, and it opened the door for airlines like America West (now US Airways) and jetBlue to enter the market.