Could the U.S. airline industry become a casualty of war with Iraq? An Air Transport Association report last week predicted that a war would depress air travel, costing airlines $10.7 billion and threatening 70,000 airline jobs.
"The mere prospect of war with Iraq has already further weakened this industry, which is literally struggling to survive," the report said. The industry wants government help, in the form of $9 billion in tax breaks.
But Congress already gave the airlines $5 billion after the 9/11 terrorist attacks frightened away passengers, and some economists and congressmen say the industry may simply have too much capacity.
"The aviation industry has some fundamental problems that go beyond any threat of war," said House aviation subcommittee chairman John Mica (R-Fla.). Southwest is the only airline currently operating in the black.