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While staff writer Rob Davis is busy sitting through the airport authority’s big meeting, I thought I’d pass along some info from The Wall Street Journal today regarding the shrinking fleets of the nation’s top six airlines.

And since the unflinching capitalists at The Wall Street Journal require a subscription to see their Web site, I’ll pass along the most interesting info in addition to the link.

The paper reports:

The six largest legacy carriers … are putting far fewer planes in the sky these days, streamlining their fleets and pushing up prices where they can. New statistics for 2005 show those airlines had a combined mainline operating fleet of 2,747 aircraft, down 21% from the 3,469 they had at the end of 2000, according to the Air Transport Association.

Delta and Northwest, both pushed to bankruptcy by pension and other obligations, were also able to shrink their fleets by breaking a number of their aircraft leases. The paper also reports that the nation’s strong economy kept a robust demand on available seats, leading airlines to fill the highest percentage of their flights since 1946.

Taking all of this into consideration, the paper says the struggling airlines are now staging a comeback that even the industry didn’t think possible only six months ago.

Oh, and Rob just called. He said the airport authority is still debating the language they will put on November ballot.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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