Report: War Would Cause Loss Of 70,000 Airline Jobs
The Air Transport Association released a report on Tuesday that predicts a war in Iraq would precipitate an economic freefall in the U.S. -- with the airlines leading the plunge. According to the report, "Airlines In Crisis: The Perfect Economic Storm," economic damage could be so severe that "there is serious risk of chaotic industry bankruptcies and liquidations" and "the prospect of a forced nationalization of the industry is not unrealistic." Jobs lost, already topping 100,000, would increase by an additional 70,000 to 98,000, the report said. Further, said ATA President James May, "The economic risks go far beyond the airline industry -- the stakes for the entire U.S. economy are extremely high." In the event of war, says May, "the outlook for the airline industry is bleak." The report based its analysis on a review of the impact of the last Gulf War -- which it says sent the airlines into a spiral that required a four-year recovery -- and the current state of the industry, which is struggling under multibillion-dollar losses stemming from the impact of 9/11, the sluggish economy, and rising fuel costs.