How does the airline industry affect the U.S. economy?
Lesson Plans by subject
September 24, 2001
Web posted at: 4:04 PM EDT (2004 GMT)
Overview: After the terrorist attacks slowed down air travel, Congress passed a $15 billion financial aid package to help the airline industry. Have students brainstorm businesses and professions that are directly or indirectly affected by the halt or slowdown of the airline industry. Challenge students to establish the chain of ripple effects of one person losing his/her job until it affects the student or his/her family.
Curriculum Connections: Economics, Business, Government
After students read the CNNfyi.com story, "Congress approves $15 billion airline bailout," ask the following questions:
1. What is the Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act? How will this legislation benefit the airline industry? Why do you think the legislation passed so quickly? Do you agree with many senators who were concerned about bailing out the airline industry? Why or why not?
2. How have the terrorist attacks hurt the airline industry? How are families of victims compensated under this legislation? Why do you think the bill also contains a measure to limit salaries?
3. Remind students of Senator Jay Rockefeller's quote, "If planes don't fly, the whole economy shuts down." Brainstorm with the class businesses or professions that are affected, directly or indirectly, by either a slowdown or halt of airline travel. Have a student create a list of these on the board. These may include businesses closely related to the airline industry such as plane repair and maintenance businesses, restaurants and retailers in airports and other businesses that depend (at least in part) on airlines, like shipping and professional sports.
4. Direct each student to think of a general category of worker who has a profession directly tied to the airline industry, such as an airline pilot, flight attendant, or airline customer service agent. Tell students to consider the economic impact of this person losing his/her job. Have each student establish a chain of ripple effects of how this person losing his/her job affects other people and businesses in the chain until it impacts the student or his/her family. Direct students to construct visuals (charts or diagrams) to illustrate their ripple effects chains. Have students share their visuals with the class. Ask: How does the unemployment of that one person affect you and your family? How could widespread layoffs in the airline industry affect you? Refer students back to the article and Senator Rockefeller's quote. Do they think "the whole economy" could "shut down" if commercial planes don't fly? Discuss.