Airfares Won’t Rise, If …. & 4 More Things to Know Today

AP/Susan WalshHere’s a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you’ll just want to know.

• The new CEO of post-merger American Airlines (AAL), Doug Parker, made two statements on CNBC Monday that we really, really want to believe. One: In spite of the merger, airfares won’t rise “as long as demand stays the same.” And two: Now that all of the majors can pretty much fly you anywhere, they are going to have to compete on service. We’re trying to imagine a world in which airlines are serious about wooing ordinary travelers with a better flying experience.

• Speaking of air travel, check this out. For sale: One large international airport in a scenic Spanish location — a steal at just 10 percent of the $1.4 billion it cost to build. It’s been unused for a few years, because, turns out, that whole “if you build it, they will come” theory doesn’t always apply to new airports in nations experiencing massive real estate bubbles. Yes, you’ll have to lay out $140 million, but come on: You can land an Airbus 380 there. What better way to become the envy of all your friends who are tooling around in little Gulfstreams or (sniff) Netjets?

• The Washington Post has done a fascinating analysis of inequality in America, and how the income and educational “elite” have sorted themselves geographically away from the hoi polloi, and what that means for society at large. It’s well worth a read (and you know you’re curious about where your ZIP code falls on the spectrum.) Also, for a quick look, here are the top 20 elite ZIP codes.

• GM (GM) is officially Government Motors no more, now that the Treasury has sold the last of its stock in the automaker, accepting a $10.7 billion loss on the direct investment. On the up side, it also saved 1.5 million American jobs (keeping those folks off the dole) and preserved $105.3 billion in tax revenues. But forget all that. That’s the old General Motors news. The new news is that GM has picked its first woman CEO: Mary Barra, who now holds what many consider the most important job in the company — senior vice president for global product development.

• And finally, it’s not just the Average Joes and low-income shoppers who are trimming their budgets this holiday season. Reports show even the rich are taking a frugal tack in their luxury buying.

Of course, frugal for them is more like spending $500 for a Michael Kors bag instead of $4,600 for a Louis Vuitton. But we all have to save where we can.

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