Airlines face deep trouble, consolidation

Just a few months ago, airlines were on the brink of recovery. Oil prices had dropped and travel was down, but people were still flying. The carriers had cut back on capacity, a move that should have made each seat more profitable.

But now the International Air Transport Association has doubled its estimates for the losses the industry will have in 2009 from its forecast of just three months ago, up to $9 billion. According toReuters, "rising fuel prices and weak demand create an unprecedented crisis for the industry."