This comes from George C. Wilson at Government Executive.com:
I was on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy for seven-and-a-half months in 1983-84 to write a book on that floating city. Carrier pilots pointed out to me that all enemy anti-ship missiles would have to do to stop operations was damage the flight deck, not sink the carrier. Parked planes on the deck are highly flammable and the launching gear is complex and difficult to repair.
Clearly then, carrier operations are far more vulnerable to countermeasures, or the whims of nature than land bases, the latter which even after major attack can soon be put into operation. A damaged carrier, loaded with jet fuel, her own fuel, plus planes and munitions? Not so easy to fix.