The skyscrapers of Dallas and Fort Worth are within eye range of one another. The two important U.S. airlines based in these North Texas cities are, in contrast, a galaxy apart in operating philosophies. In Fort Worth, American Airlines, an international player, manages an operation of some 1,100 aircraft. Southwest, based in Dallas, is the avatar of a domestic, low-cost, point-to-point airline. Each airline faces a critical test in coming months in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist ...

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