In the past, commercial airlines and automobiles have shared a symbiotic relationship and rarely compete directly with each other except for very short flights. However, with driverless vehicles on the horizon, many of which will be made available to the average American consumer within a few years, the airline industry may find that they are now facing a competitor that is unlike anything they have seen in the past. In the current paper, we analyze some of the issues that the airline industry will encounter, and provide consumer survey data that shows that at least 10% of the flying public will switch to driverless vehicles once they realize the advantages that driverless cars offer over commercial flight. These numbers may snowball as the airline industry contracts, particularly for airlines that use the hub and spoke model. We discuss the implications of these potential changes.



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