But for the grace of US taxpayers, patient bankruptcy judges and the deep pockets of GE Capital Corp., the long-awaited consolidation of the US airline industry might have begun in earnest last year as companies such as United Airlines, US Airways Group and Delta Air Lines simply ran out of financial options. Together, the three accounted for $7.5 billion of the $9.2 billion in aggregate losses suffered by US Major passenger airlines in 2004. Delta by itself accounted for nearly 60% of the ...

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