If it comes to war with Iraq, the airline industry fears its financial battles will only get worse.

Still trying to reach pre-9/11 levels of travel, airline executives said they think war with Iraq would dash those hopes, and possibly make the industry’s situation worse, reports the Associated Press. Airline travel in November 2002 was still 18 percent off the November 2000 mark.

Major airlines have laid off more than 80,000 employees, reduced flights, and expect to have lost $9 billion in 2002, reports the AP. Though they have received financial aid from Congress by way of a $15 billion aid package and $1 billion extension of government-issued war-risk insurance, the airlines say they need more.

Congress is divided on whether the airlines need more relief, reports the AP, and war with Iraq could push the issue off the table altogether. For more, visit www.ap.org.