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The author of the passage mentions the current financial situation in order to
The author uses the current financial situation to explain the hardship of other, non-discount American airlines.
Since we know that the author thinks that the recent success of American discount airlines is only a product of the current financial situation, we can infer that he or she thinks that when that situation changes, the fate of American discount airlines might change as well.
The author does not argue that customers do not currently enjoy the reduced prices of American discount airlines. In fact, the current success of these airlines suggests that customers find these prices satisfying enough to give American discount airlines their business.
Although the author has doubts about the future success of American discount airlines, she or he does not claim that they will certainly fail.
The author readily acknowledges American discount airlines current financial success.