US airlines say they made exactly the right moves in the first half of last year to prepare for the global financial downturn--even though they had no idea it was coming. The industry scrambled to counter ballooning fuel costs amid predictions that per-barrel crude oil prices, already at $150, would hit $200 or higher. Oil prices instead plummeted to as low as $40 per barrel earlier this year (although they since have climbed back to the $50 range), but the measures the carriers took--large ...

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