>>>another question for debate: can the u.s. aviation industry survive another 9/11, with flights grounded for a couple of weeks and the associated reduction in passengers afterward, and the deep fare sales to lure people back?
I think the aviation industry would "survive" (in the sense that it wasn't going to disappear completely) but how well it would do so would depend upon a variety of factors.
First off, generally speaking, any second attack of the scope of the previous 9/11 attack is probably going to have a more debilitating effect on the nation and the economy. The first time on 9/11, it was all a big surprise, and a big shock, and there were various kinds of efforts taken afterwards to hopefully prevent a recurrence. Again, in a general sense, if another major attack demostrates those post 9/11 efforts as being inadequate, I think the recovery time for the American public, the aviation industry, and the national economy are going to be alot longer.
If a second attack uses aviation as the actual mechanism (missile shootdown, explosive device, another kamakazie-style attack, whatever) more folks (than post 9/11) will stay away from air travel, and stay away longer. The post 9/11 grounding was only a few days in duration (just long enough to get the security screening "fixed") (yeah, I know), but if a second attack involved a planted explosive device or a missile shootdown, the grounding period could be much longer, since corrective efforts would involve a much higher level of technology that take longer to deploy. This would especially be the case as far as equpping the civil fleet with missile countermeasures.
The biggest threat, IMHO, isn't necessarily via another attack using aviation, or nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons, but is more so an "unleashing" of potentially destructive stuff that's already here. (It was the same rationale as they're using aircraft as missliles on 9/11 versus building their own missiles). I'm talking about stuff like petrochemical plants, road/rail transport of hazmat cargos. Also, attacks on various critical infrastructures like utilities, communications, roads, and bridges. If you thought the NE blackout was bad, imagine the effect on the economy (and overall morale) had it been an -intential- attack on the powergrid, and the damage taken weeks/months to repair before power could have been restored. Likewise if they go after a cheap EMP-generating weapon that fries a zillion things that we use in daily life that use electricity.
Don't get me wrong--any method of subsequent attack would have effects on aviation, and the nation's recovery from it--it just depends upon what form any second attack actually takes.
>>>I dont think the government can keep pouring money into airlines like last time.
They may have no other choice. If it came down to a matter of supporting the industry or letting major companies/industry segments fail (each with their own additional effects and negative contribution to the general economy), which do you think the government would choose? (It's called damage control).
As far as which specific airlines would survive, the only opinion I can express with any degree of confidence is that those with the lowest cost structures will have the best chance. With post-attack loads down, those with higher cost structures simply aren't going to be able to pull as much needed revenue as they need to operate. Depending upon when (or if) the goverment intervenes with financial support (and how much), any existing high-cost carrier has a better chance of failing.
[Edited 2003-12-25 02:08:56]
ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.