As a result of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the airline industry incurred significant losses resulting from the temporary shutdown of the nation's airspace and passengers' apprehensions about flying following the attacks. The Air Transportation Safety and System Stabilization Act (the Act) provided, among other things, $5 billion in emergency assistance to compensate air carriers for their direct and incremental losses stemming from the attacks. The Act also authorized the Department of Transportation (DOT) to reimburse air carriers for increases in their insurance premiums. On September 28, 2001, we completed the first phase of the work Congress requested, concluding that there was a reasonable basis to assume that the airlines' financial losses related to September 11 would exceed the $5 billion made available in the Act. Since then and pursuant to the second part of the request, we monitored DOT's progress in administering the disaster relief and insurance reimbursement programs and provided periodic status updates to Congress.
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