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Flying the Profitable Skies
By Stephen D. Simpson, CFA
November 4, 2005

I've made the comment before that the American airline industry may be the very worst business around. Participants will price-cut their way into oblivion, extort employees with the threat of bankruptcy, and set up a system that treats customers more like cattle than people. No great wonder, then, that so many have gone belly-up.

That's not quite the case outside the U.S., though. As British Airways (NYSE: BAB) demonstrated again on Friday, it actually is possible to run a profitable full-service airline. Of course, with about two-thirds of BA's pre-tax earnings coming from lucrative routes to the U.S., it's not really a fair apples-to-apples comparison with its domestic U.S. brethren.....
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