Airline Woes: It's Just Math

While most airlines have money in the bank, the industry still struggles with rising fuel costs and the lingering threat of recession
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As crude oil tops $110 per barrel, a worried hum heard in the U.S. airline industry in recent months is now building into a shrill alarm. The latest alert came Mar. 12 when JPMorgan Chase (JPM) downgraded seven large U.S. airlines and suggested the "best-case" scenario for the industry is a $4 billion loss for the year. "And if demand trends mirror prior recessions, a $9 billion loss can't be ruled out," JPMorgan analyst Jamie Baker wrote.

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