US airline executives may be feeling a bit of whiplash. Just a year ago, the second quarter was celebrated as the first reporting period in nearly five years that ended with no US carrier in bankruptcy protection, and all of the nation's 10 largest airlines were in the black with cumulative net income of more than $5 billion. A year later, dramatically rising fuel costs coupled with a weak US economy led to the 10 carriers posting a cumulative net loss of $5.8 billion in the 2008 quarter, ...

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