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For Teachers: Lessons on the Airline Industry

Here's a look at what's going on with American, Southwest, Frontier and other airline companies.

The Week in Review is provided by The Stock Market Game, which is a curriculum-based teaching tool that allows students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 online stock portfolio to learn about long-term saving and investing.

The Stock Market Game Week in Review: Apr. 7-Apr. 11

With the beautiful weather experienced by those on the East Coast on last week, many are eagerly awaiting summer vacation. But traveling by air may become even more hectic in the coming months as troublesome news about many airlines captured the headlines.

American Airlines

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made business and personal travel on Wednesday, Apr. 9 a nightmare by cancelling more than 1,000 flights -- nearly half its schedule -- to fix faulty wiring that could cause a short-circuit or even fire and explosion. The headache continued the following day as the airline cancelled 595 more flights or 25% of its schedule and stranded tens of thousands of passengers.

Over the past three weeks, U.S. carriers have shut down close to 3,700 flights because of inspection issues. It has been the largest wave of cancellations and it will most likely only get worse as federal regulators step up their scrutiny of aircraft inspections after years of more lenient enforcement.

Southwest Airlines

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was the first airline to experience the tightening of safety measures by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and ultimately faces a $10.2 million fine for missing deadlines to inspect planes for structural flaws during 2006 and 2007.

In other headlines,

Frontier Airlines Holdings, Inc.


announced it will join the ranks of

ATA Airlines


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, and

Aloha Airgroup

by filing for Chapter 11

bankruptcy protection. But unlike the other airlines, Frontier plans to keep running while it reorganizes. Even if passengers are able to get off the ground, they will feel the pinch in their wallets as crude oil prices continue to hover around $110 per barrel and the cost of jet fuel has nearly doubled since last year.

It appears most major U.S. carriers have passed much of the cost onto its passengers and discount seats are dwindling in numbers. Escalating costs have also led to merger talks between





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In other news, April is the month most people associate with the tax man, but April is also National Financial Literacy Month. To celebrate this important springtime event, the Foundation for Investor Education and the Stock Market Game (SMG) have made available lessons to prepare students for a visit from an industry professional:

In the Securities Industry

for elementary students and

Roles in the Industry

for middle and high school students. Both can be found in the SMG Web site's

Teacher Support Center


Sources for arranging a visit are included in the lessons' "Teacher Backgrounds." Teachers are encouraged to provide their students with at least one visit from an industry professional. The experience enriches the SMG program by providing a "live" connection between what they are doing in the game to the "real world."

In addition to the industry professionals lessons, a new issue of

In the News

is available. This issue,

The Fed's Fix

looks at the measures the

Federal Reserve

has taken to invigorate the economy. This lesson can also be found in the "Publications" section of the

Teacher Support Center


To learn more about The Stock Market Game, go to Plus, don't miss the first SMG Student Spotlight on

This article was written by a staff member of The Stock Market Game.