Air Support

Should the U.S. keep bailing out airlines? Here's a post-9/11 success story--plus a cautionary tale

Remember the airline bailouts following 9/11? Less than a month after the 2001 attacks, Congress rushed through a $15 billion bounty of subsidies and loan guarantees for U.S. carriers--which suffered catastrophic human and business losses that day and the next two. Washington first forked over money for anything that could be linked to 9/11, then paid out $1.5 billion in assistance to five airlines that claimed to be on the verge of extinction.

Since then, the bailout program has been widely criticized as wasteful, in part because it was clear prior to 9/11 that the airline industry had too much...

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