Alfred E. Kahn, the man credited with ending government control of the airline industry in the 1970s, passed away yesterday at age 93.

As chairman of the Civil Aeronautics Board under President Carter, Kahn proposed the sweeping notion that airlines could best serve customers by competing with each other financially.

This was a radical idea at a time when routes and ticket prices were controlled by the government.

With Kahn’s help, Congress passed the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 which later led to the emergence of competitive low-cost carriers.

In 2005, when asked whether deregulation had helped or hurt the industry, Kahn was quoted by the Denver Post as saying, “Consumers have benefited to the effect of $20 billion a year.”

Kahn’s death was announced on the Website of Cornell University, where he spent most of his career.

Source: Bloomberg

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