One of the many problems not only with USAirways but with the industry as a whole.
Most of our cost are out of our control, such as fuel,landing fees,government fees, and the like.
The cost that they can control of course is our pay, air fares. It makes if very difficult to keep other things under control.
Airlines can also control how they make their employees feel valued. So much of the animosity which lower and mid-level employees feel against their senior management can be solved by the people at the top making an effort to understand the challenges faced by the people below them, and then implementing the changes necessary to improve the working environment. A lot of problems and inefficiencies can be solved without resulting in added costs to the company.
I agree, though, that a big part of the problem is the volatility in factors which are outside of the airlines' control, and can quickly add up to a lot of red ink. The airlines can offset some of these costs by placing a premium on customer service, to create a loyal customer base instead of merely a customer base comprised primarily of bargain hunters seeking the lowest fares.
On a related note: My parents flew out of LAX on US yesterday. There were 2 agents in the regular check-in line, and no agents at the F check-in line. The agent who finally came over to help them told them that several check-in agents at LAX were furloughed due to "overstaffing." Decisions like this might "save" the company a few bucks on the balance sheet, but it agitates customers.......many of whom will take it into consideration the next time they are fare-shopping. And if you make cuts in a service for which you are now charging customers extra........where else you will make cuts??? Opportunity costs should factor into every spreadsheet.