Fuel costs send Delta, Northwest airlines into bankruptcy

| 9/15/2005

Close to half of the United States’ airline capacity is now in Chapter 11, after two of the nation’s largest commercial air carriers filed for bankruptcy on the same day this week.

In the early afternoon Wednesday, Sept. 14, Delta Airlines, the nation’s third-largest carrier filed for Chapter 11, CNN reported. Minutes later, Northwest Airlines, the No. 4 carrier, followed suit.

According to The Associated Press, both companies cited high jet fuel prices – which came close to the $2.50 a gallon in August – as one of the main reasons for the move.

Delta and Northwest join a growing list of companies to file for bankruptcy, including No. 2 carrier United Airlines, and US Airways, which has filed for Chapter 11 twice since the Sept. 11 attacks, CNN said.

Market analyst Bear Stearns estimates that half of all U.S. airlines are now in bankruptcy. The industry posted $32.3 billion in losses between 2001 and 2004, even with profits from Southwest Airlines and JetBlue – two of the only profitable airlines remaining – factored in, according to CNN.