The best/ most interesting book I have come across that deals with the industry as a whole and actually compares the different airline/ types of airlines is "Hard Landing" by Thomas Petzinger. It was first published in '94 I think, so you should be able to find an old copy online, if not then http://www.petzinger.com/OtherBooks.shtml
The book focuses on the post deregulation era up until like 1993. It does go into detail on the differences between No Frill and Frill but won't take you up to the JetBlue era. Needless to say, this is my favorite airline industry book and my copy is now in several pieces I read it so many times and used it for so many reports in college.
>One little example (that I used for a couple of reports) was the People Express vs. American issue. AA
was able to compile their Computer Reservation Sys' historical data to figure out how many seats on a given flight to sell at a discount while still gouging the last minute guy who *had* to fly. People Express on the other hand offered all seats on the flight at the same price. Their failure to "deploy yield management" meant that they were giving up revenue buy allowing the guy who was willing pay top dollar if need be get away with buying a dirt cheap ticket. This example has been cited numerous times by a.neters who have obviously read the book, and I would recommend it even if not for the project.
Does this report have to focus on "how to manage a profitable airline compare/contrast paper with a profitable airline to a struggling airline"? Depending on whether your still in High School and what class this is for (if college) I would shy away from the "how to manage a profitable airline" part. However, there are endless sources if you do it based on the contrast between profitable/struggling airlines, especially if you make it in a historical context, like post-deregulation to post 9/11. That kind of subject will give you plenty of hard reading sources like any of the above mentioned as well as some easy online reference articles for the post 9/11 part.
Tip: If you include an interview with either the author or one of the subjects you can score some major brownie points. During College I managed interviews/corespondence with a number of current and former airline executives. Almost all of the retired guys will talk to you if you can get ahold of their e-mail address (My first windfall was a Braniff report. This report led me to track down an old documentary on the failure, which led me to PBS, who led me to the producer, who is now a talk show host, and he put me in contact with the various executives directly). At very least the authors are usually very accommodating to e-mails, hell Petzinger's e-mail is pasted all over his site. Something to ponder anyway.