Airing War Fears

Would a war in Iraq deal a crippling blow to America's already limping airline industry? According to a new study commissioned by a major airline and obtained by TIME, half of America's large airlines could be bankrupt within a year if war--even a brief one--breaks out in Iraq.

The report's author, Mark Gerchick, a former top official at the Department of Transportation and now an independent consultant, notes that during the 1991 Gulf War, airline bookings dropped 8.5%, which helped drive even perennially profitable Southwest Airlines into the red. But the industry entered that conflict in much better shape than...

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