Grounded for How Long?

If Europe's major airlines fail, will the threat of terrorism really be to blame? The sight of passenger jets transformed into guided missiles has surely made many travelers reluctant to take to the skies, and the impact on airlines' earnings has been quick and brutal.

British Airways has seen its profits fall to $7.3 million for the third quarter, compared with $290 million a year before. Belgium's Sabena is bankrupt and has suspended operations and Swissair, also bankrupt, has remained aloft only with government help.

Not surprisingly, there has been a lot of special...

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