Obama administration policies have affected the airline industry in at least three significant ways, according to political and industry experts. Unions are gaining strength, passengers are gaining rights and climate-change legislation threatens to impose huge new expenses. But airlines are enthusiastic supporters of administration policy when it comes to financial reform, which is seen as a tool for stabilizing oil prices. "We went from buying fuel at $30 a barrel to $147 a barrel a few years ago, an increase not supported by supply-and-demand fundamentals," says a spokesman for the Air Transport Association.

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