Surely the turbulence will eventually clear for the troubled airline industry, but it won't be anytime soon. Consider these headlines from the past couple of days: "UAL's Bankruptcy Shows Pitfalls of Employee Ownership Plans," "US Airways Gets More Time To File Reorganization Plan," and "Delta CEO Says Airlines Still Need More Help from Congress."

Delta (NYSE: DAL) CEO Leo Mullin says the new security costs are so prohibitive that the entire industry could go bankrupt if the government doesn't pick up the tab. Without that relief and some other help, he told an aviation safety group, "the government will, by default, come to own the airlines."

Because of higher security costs and fewer passengers, Mullin believes the industry will lose about $10 billion this year. His own airline has had to shell out $670 million "due to security restrictions, new bulletproof cockpit doors, seats taken up by federal air marshals, and the $2.50 [per segment] tax cost," according to USA Today.

The best line in that story came from airline consultant Michael Boyd. Referring to Mullin's hopes of the government paying for these costs, Boyd noted the current hands-off atmosphere in Washington, and said Mullin "might as well go to the Salvation Army and ask them to pick them up."

It's interesting that even in the midst of these most troubling times, Delta is planning on expanding its business to enter into the low-cost market, thereby competing directly with the likes of Southwest Airlines(NYSE: LUV), JetBlue(Nasdaq: JBLU), and AirTran(NYSE: AAI). But it's a move the carrier hopes will allow it to gain market share and jet back into the black.