The cliches about bigness are true. The big get bigger. We are fascinated with size. A lot of us think bigger is better. And in business, we look to the biggest.

Our annual Power List issue is our way of recognizing these trends, recognizing the big, recognizing their importance. And every year since this list began in 1992 our eyes get a bit wider at some of the numbers:

  • The largest agency on this list, American Express, has an annual sales volume that is 200 times the volume of the smallest.

  • There are 14 travel sellers on this list with annual sales volume exceeding $1 billion.

  • Together, the members of this $1 billion club generate nearly $105 billion in sales.

  • The top three account for about half of that, or just under $53 billion.

  • The rise of the big Web sites has been phenomenal, but while travel is becoming a Web-centric game, it remains a business of trust. The telephone still rocks. Some companies do hundreds of millions a year over the phone.
  • This list is all about the big and the powerful, the industry leaders, but it also stands as a testament to the power of travel.

    Travel draws consumers like a magnet, and while its not known to be a high-margin business, it continues to draw and nourish a dynamic and diverse corps of investors and entrepreneurs. Judging from this list, travel people are no strangers to growth, innovation and success.


    Hallelujah, maybe

    We find much good in the agreement hammered out by the cities of Dallas and Fort Worth, and their local airlines and airports, to end (finally!) the regime of federal restrictions on Love Field service that stem from the 1979 Wright Amendment.

    If the deal goes through, the first benefit would be an immediate end to the ban on through service linking Love Field with points beyond the airports nine-state service area. Eight years later, Love Field would open up for nonstop service to any point in the country.

    The deal includes a limit on the number of passenger gates, to limit growth, and a ban on international service. Were not big fans of arbitrary restrictions like that, but in this case, its worth it to get a deal.

    What were worried about is the role of the U.S. Congress. Because the Wright Amendment is law, it can only be changed by Congress. The question is: How?

    The Texas parties describe their deal as an agreement in principle rather than a final contract, but as written, it is predicated on the expectation that Congress will enact legislation to implement its terms.

    Wed much rather see Congress repeal the Wright Amendment altogether and allow the local compact to govern what happens at Love Field.

    One of the biggest problems with the Wright Amendment has always been that it was an act of Congress, a law carved in stone that only Congress could change. We dont believe Washington should be legislating restrictions on how local airports are to be used. 

    Congress should just bow out. If, at some future date, the parties believe their agreement no longer serves their communitys needs, they can negotiate changes among themselves, without having to drag the federal government back into the act.

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