2004 Fiscal Year Profits as of now
Airline___Profit Margin%___Operating Margin%
The most profitable and therefore most financially viable airlines are the LCCs and the regional partners as well. The big majors are not doing well at all, but some are good in better shape then others. I would say a contracted regional carrier would be the best way to go as a financial investment (presuming the parent company is not about to dissolve or their big customer is having problems).
A surprise might be Skywest. I know they are just a regional carrier, but they have expanded with CO
in recent years and is one of the only carriers that still depends on a highly efficient prop (EMB 120) for much of their operations. With a revenue $521million and a net income of $39.4million (up 40%) they are doing really well.
[Edited 2004-10-23 23:28:27]
[Edited 2004-10-23 23:31:47]
[Edited 2004-10-23 23:33:21]
If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!