In early October, the price of oil topped $52 a barrel, representing a 60% increase over the year-ago period. According to the Air Transport Assn., every $1 increase in the price of a barrel adds $425 million in annual operating expenses for US airlines. That means they are spending an extra $9.93 billion on Jet A this year compared to 2003. Until oil began its climb to the stratosphere, 2004 was expected to be a breakeven-or-better year for US carriers, who hoped to reap the reward from ...

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