Global air travel also has fallen off as the financial crisis has hit economies around the world. The International Air Transport Association says international passenger traffic declined 1.3 percent in October compared with 2007, and it dropped 2.9 percent in September. And executives from major airlines told investors Tuesday at a conference in New York that erosion of demand for seats will force them to cut capacity next year.

"I think it's going to be a very cold winter, and I'm not a weatherman," said Calyon Securities airline analyst Ray Neidl.

Airlines, which already made dramatic cuts to their fall schedules as oil prices soared over the summer, have cited the economic slowdown as reason enough for them to continue to be cautious, even though oil prices have dropped significantly the last few months.

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