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The US airline industry is still in lousy shape, with some airlines in much better shape than others, but about a third of the US industry now bankrupt. The post-Katrina spike in fuel prices hit the industry hard, particularly the already fragile carriers who don't have fuel price hedges. Prices retreated from the spike, giving them a small amount of breathing room, but conditions continue to be very tough.

Planes are fairly full, schedules about back to the level of 2001. Low fare carriers Southwest, Jet Blue, Frontier, and Airtran have been profitable in recent quarters, with Alaska, American, and Continental also making profit in the April-June 2005 second quarter. But after 19 consecutive profitable quarters, Jet Blue lost money in the last quarter of 2006 and says they won't be profitable again any time soon. National, Midway and Vanguard Airlines are out of business, United, ATA, and now Northwest, Delta, and Aloha are flying in bankruptcy. Independence Air threw in the towel and stopped operating as of Jan 5.

After being turned down for government assistance three times, and being in bankruptcy for an astonishing 38 months, United emerged from bankruptcy on on February 1st. They are losing money much, much, slower than they used to. Oh, joy. They say they'd make money if fuel were cheaper, which does not sound all that encouraging to me.