Which airlines have most financial staying power?

Long-standing reputation for below-average customer service, despite evidence of recent improvement.

Potential cash sources

International route rights

Equity in wide-body fleet

Regional airline and vacation package subsidiaries

STRUGGLING

-AirTran

The No. 10 U.S. carrier by revenue has the second-lowest operating costs in the industry, but reduced growth and debt are problems.

Financials

Revenue for latest 12 months: $2.5 billion

Debt: $2.8 billion

Unrestricted cash and short-term investments: $485 million

Unrestricted cash as a percentage of revenue for latest 12 months: 19.5%

Strengths

Established low-fare niche carrier in large Atlanta market

Young, fuel-efficient fleet

Largest operator of Boeing 717s, which few carriers fly, giving Boeing a vested interest in keeping AirTran afloat.

Weaknesses

High debt load

Exposed to potential increase in competitive pressure from Delta at Atlanta hub

Slowed growth threatens to push operating costs higher

Limited ability to expand without running into fierce competition from rivals

Potential cash sources

Boeing

JetBlue

A onetime Wall Street darling, the No. 9 carrier by revenue, has turned into an underperforming stock due to losses, reduced growth and operational difficulties.

Financials

Revenue for the latest 12 months: $3.2 billion

Debt: $4 billion

Unrestricted cash and short-term investments: $924 million

Unrestricted cash as a percentage of revenue for the latest 12 months: 29.1%

Strengths

Leading discount carrier in the huge New York City market

Lowest operating costs among the 10 largest U.S. carriers

Weaknesses

High debt, with many delayed orders for new aircraft still on its books

Rising costs as a result of slowed growth, air traffic congestion and delays in the New York market

Small market presence outside New York

Potential cash sources

Delivery positions for popular new Airbus and Embraer jets could be sold; LiveTV subsidiary is already on the auction blockLufthansa could increase its 19% stake

UAL

United Airlines' parent, the USA's second-biggest airline company by revenue, emerged from bankruptcy reorganization in 2006.

Financials

Revenue for latest 12 months: $20.6 billionDebt: $11.1 billionUnrestricted cash and short-term investments: $2.9 billionUnrestricted cash as a percentage of revenue for latest 12 months 14.1%

Strengths

Best global service network, with big hubs in Chicago and Denver and a strong position at London Heathrow; a premier network between U.S. and Asia

Recently extended credit card partnership and banking relationships with Chase Bank to raise $600 million in cash and improve liquidity by nearly $600 million more

Weaknesses

Less cash on hand as of June 30 than Delta, Continental and Northwest, all smaller airlines

Aging fleet

Increasingly contentious labor-management relations; pilots union calling for CEO Glenn Tilton's resignation

Potential cash sources

Airport gates and landing rights, and international route rights, can be sold or used as collateral

Company claims more than $1.billion in unencumbered aircraft and other assets

US Airways

The USA's No. 6 carrier by revenue, it is the most exposed to low-cost carrier competition.

Financials

Revenue for latest 12 months: $11.9 billionDebt: $8.3 billionUnrestricted cash and short-term investments: $2 billionUnrestricted cash as a percentage of revenue for latest 12 months: 17.4%

Strengths

Updated, fuel-efficient fleet

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