Jet-fuel prices are the airline industry's biggest expense. This year, the industry's fuel bill is projected to increase to $54 billion from $39 billion last year, says the Air Transport Association. "Their 2011 fuel bill is expected to dwarf 2005, despite lower [fuel] consumption," said an ATA spokeswoman. Airlines have been cutting capacity and expect to keep it down in an effort to cope with persistently high fuel costs. Delta plans to extend its fourth-quarter capacity cuts into early next year, and Southwest, Frontier and other airlines are also making cuts.
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