After 31 years of rationalization, airlines are finally ready to enjoy a steady climb in profits. The most recent news was bleak, with Continental being the only one of the majors to turn a profit. However, the world economy is in lift-off mode; three big examples are Russia, China and Australia. Believe it or not, even Africa is rapidly moving along the air travel "acceleration curve".
The green movement still has US energy production throttled, thus, production of goods continues to move to international locations. America will remain prosperous, but products created in America will be manufactured elsewhere. Low cost long distance communications make international business all the more practical. More than half of Continentals revenues come from overseas routes.
"Continental Airlines being the only airline that actually was able to turn a profit."
- Airlines Think Recovery Could be on the Way by CompareCarrentals.com News (view on Google Sidewiki)