The 30 busiest U.S. airports, which move 70% of the country’s airline passengers, saw their traffic increase just 2.5% last year compared to 2016—one-third of the global growth rate. Meanwhile, the U.S. has 16 fewer airports with commercial air service today than in 2014. Such figures do not suggest a market ripe with potential for startup airlines. But while the U.S. market may not be growing much, it is changing significantly. The shifts help explain why new airline ventures ...

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