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US: Which Airline Will Not Survive?

Earnings are down and excuses are plentiful for air carriers: High fuel costs, low fares, the economy and competition from discount airlines like JetBlue Airways are among the most popular culprits for industry captains such as Delta Air Lines' Gerald Grinstein and Continental Airlines' Lawrence Kellner. So far, of the five major U.S. airlines that had reported earnings as of yesterday--American Airlines, Delta, Continental, Northwest Airlines and Southwest Airlines, --only Southwest posted a profit. Combined losses at the other four totalled $3.17 billion. Still to report are US Airways, UAL's United Airlines, America West and Alaska Air; all are expected to add to the total losses. The largest hit was suffered by Delta on Thursday: a $2.2 billion loss--the worst annual performance in the history of the industry.

Ailing firms will continue to fight with fare overhauls, payroll cuts, financial restructurings and the like. The alternative: what flyboys call buying the farm.

Online Poll Results:

Which airline will not survive?
America West    
336 votes (2%)
American Airlines    
408 votes (2%)
Continental Airlines    
362 votes (2%)
Delta Air Lines    
2872 votes (13%)
Northwest Airlines    
236 votes (1%)
United Airlines    
1700 votes (8%)
US Airways  
9690 votes (44%)
More than one of the above    
4515 votes (20%)
None of the above    
520 votes (2%)
I don't know    
1466 votes (7%)
22105 people have voted so far    Discuss this poll
Your vote was on 1/24/2005 9:15 am

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

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