Troubles in the airline industry are partly attributable to the Sept. 11 attacks, and federal loan guarantees are appropriate compensation. Much of the decline predated Sept. 11, however -- the result of recession and changes in the airfare marketplace. The government had best let the industry adjust to these conditions without undue interference.
US Airways, which filed for bankruptcy this week, deserves a loan guarantee because it was hard hit by the closing of Ronald Reagan Airport in Washington, one of its hubs, for 24 days last year. US Airways also came up with a recovery plan that passed muster with the federal Air Transportation Stabilization Board, which must approve the guarantees.
... The economic downturn after Sept. 11 hastened travelers' search for lower fares, but the trend was inevitable without the attacks. The fate of US Airways and United is important to the people who work there, but the airline industry as a whole is remarkably resilient and will survive the shakeout among individual carriers.
-- The Boston Globe
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