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What's fueling not-so-friendly skies?

July 15, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The airline industry in the United States is struggling, causing a call to Congress to help bring the cost of oil down.Airlines issued an alarming warning Tuesday. The industry said fuel costs pushed $62 billion this year, and they are in serious trouble.

From delays to overcrowded planes, air travelers are growing more and more frustrated with the airline industry.

"They are changing. They're having to deal with the same thing that everybody is dealing with, which is rising fuel costs," said Jim Weigand, an airline passenger.

"I think that it's going to go busted if they don't get some help," said another passenger.

Tuesday, during a Senate subcommittee hearing, several senators were also worried the industry was on the brink of collapse.

"We are literally seeing the industry melting down in front of our eyes," said John Meenan, Air Transport Association.

The cost of jet fuel has forced some airlines to declare bankruptcy. Others are parking planes and cutting routes. More than 30,000 jobs have been lost.

"Our fuel bill is going to be up about $20 billion more than it was last year. That's absolutely...No business can sustain that," said Meenan.

Airlines are raising money any way they can. They have begun charging for checked luggage and are advertising on boarding passes.

The airline industry is also urging Congress to pass legislation to curb oil speculation. Even some Republicans say the Bush Administration is not doing enough.

"The Administration has its head in the sand on speculation. We must find some way to control that speculation," said Senator Ted Stevens, (R) Alaska.

Airline prices rose a record 31 percent last quarter. Many experts believe it is going to take a lot more than lower oil prices to solve the airline industry's problem.

 

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