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Legacy of 9/11: A decade of disruption for airlines

In the decade following the terror attacks, the airline business was a sorry story when it came to making money. Giovanni Bisignani, the plain-speaking Italian who led the International Air Transport Association for a decade from 2002, said in his annual report of 2010 that the industry had lost nearly $50 billion in that decade.

Less than two years after the 9/11 attacks, Bisignani told airline bosses at the IATA annual meeting in June 2003: “Our industry has been hit by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The successive impact of September 11, a world economic slowdown, Iraq and SARS has been devastating. Our industry was like the boxer who gets hit harder after every knockdown.”

In the early 2000s, this was described as a…

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