Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner said he believes "the worst is over" for the financially struggling U.S. airline industry, but he said the worst may be yet to come for American automakers.

Skinner was generally optimistic about the future of the airline industry, although he predicted some "difficult transition times" ahead and said Trans World Airlines, Pan American and others might still fail.He said he and other Cabinet secretaries and top administration officials met in Washington with Detroit's Big Three automakers two weeks ago to hear their concerns about Japanese import levels, provisions of the new Clean Air Act, the difficulty they and their suppliers have had obtaining needed credit and their worry about proposed legislation increasing fuel efficiency requirements.