This article remembers key events that have shaped Wall Street history.
Wall Street opened once again for trading on Sept. 17, 2001, after a week of fear and mourning in the wake of terrorist strikes that brought down the World Trade Center's twin towers. No one expected it to be a good day. The Dow
The airline industry, supplied by aircraft manufacturers and Dow components Boeing
The day before, a high-ranking analyst had said that the economy was poised for recovery. That was quickly proven false, as third-quarter GDP shrank by 0.4%, its worst performance in over a decade.
The extent of damage done to the airline industry was staggering. A report by the International Air Transport Association quantified this impact years later. Here are the key details:
- U.S. passenger traffic declined 5.9% in 2001 over the year-ago period, and fell a further 1.4% in 2002.
- Global passenger traffic declined by 2.7% in 2001 and did not surpass 2000 levels until 2003.
- U.S. industry capacity declined for two straight years, a first since World War II.
- Domestic airline demand suffered a permanent decline after 2001, with revenue per $100 of nominal U.S. GDP falling from $0.82 in 2000 to $0.69 in 2010.
- Total U.S. domestic capacity remained 4% below 2000 levels a decade later.
- U.S. airlines only enjoyed three years of industry profitability from 2000 to 2010.
- U.S. airline employment declined from 520,600 workers in 2000 to 382,900 workers in the first half of 2011.
- Global airline losses totaled $13 billion in 2001 and $11.3 billion in 2002. The industry did not post a net profit again until 2006, when it earned $5 billion across all carriers.
- Aviation security is now estimated to cost $7.4 billion each year. This does not account for airport passenger screening expenses borne by taxpayers -- the Transportation Security Administration's budget was $7.8 billion in 2011.
Boeing and United Technologies avoided the airline industry's misery, thanks in no small part to their substantial defense operations. Since Sept. 17, 2001, Boeing has gained 330%, and United Technologies has grown by 152%, both well in excess of the Dow's 52% growth over the same time frame. The government had their backs, so to speak.
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Fool contributor Alex Planes holds no financial position in any company mentioned here. Add him on Google+ or follow him on Twitter @TMFBiggles for more news and insights. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.