Reducing airline labor costs is usually fraught with turmoil, but curtailing fuel consumption is a task on which management and labor usually can agree. For those carriers with cash in the bank, a risk management strategy involving financial instruments may be the most complete-and rewarding-way to smooth out the peaks and valleys. When prices just keep rising, however, as has been the case over the past 12-18 months, even hedging has its limitations. And many cash-strapped airlines ...

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