Just once, wouldn’t it be nice if the airline industry was allowed to rest on its laurels instead of always having to respond to another crisis? At the beginning of 2008, carriers around the world were coming off their best performance of the decade, with earnings, according to IATA, of $14.7 billion (recently revised upward from $12.9 billion). Less than 12 months later they were fighting for their lives (again) owing to the roller-coaster ride of oil prices and the ...

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