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Travel News April 2005.

Fear of terrorist threat may exceed actual scope. In an editorial in the Bangor Daily News, author Winthrop Griffith writes that the confidence of Americans may be undermined by paranoia about future terrorist attacks. He agrees that the threat is real, but notes the many false alarms and warnings about another large attack. Apr 29, 2005

International terrorist incidents triple, but U.S. won't release statistics. U.S. government figures indicate international terrorist incidents tripled last year, the Washington Post reports. Significant attacks rose to 665 in 2004, up from 175 a year earlier. The State Department has decided not to make the statistics public in its annual report on terrorism, which is scheduled to be released this week. Apr 27, 2005

Hoping to save millions, six large airlines sign up with low-cost ticket distributor. Six major airlines have signed up with a low-cost ticket reservation system, the Wall Street Journal reports. The system is run by G2 SwitchWorks and could save the companies millions each year on ticket distribution fees. G2 would charge the airlines about $3 for booking a ticket, compared with $12.50 charged by the traditional operators. Apr 27, 2005

Passport technology raises concerns among travel, privacy groups. The State Department's plan to equip new passports with chips that employ radio frequency identification, or RFID, technology has generated concern and frustration among travelers and privacy advocates. Critics say the chips could make Americans easier targets for terrorists when traveling overseas. Apr 26, 2005

Private screeners do a better job, report says: Airport screeners who work for private companies outperform government workers, according to a congressional investigation. The study found the private workers are better at detecting dangerous objects. Apr 20, 2005

Report says: Airport screeners need new technology to detect hidden weapons. New technology is needed to improve airport security because hidden weapons continue to make it past airport screeners, according to a government report. The Department of Homeland Security will release the report today, USA TODAY reports. Apr 19, 2005

Passport rule could "disrupt the honest flow of traffic". President Bush said that he had ordered Homeland Security officials to reconsider a new rule that would require U.S. citizens reentering the country from destinations such as Canada and Mexico to show passports. Bush said he was concerned the requirement could "disrupt the honest flow of traffic" across borders. Experts say the rule could discourage families from traveling to Canada, particularly for short trips to places such as Niagara Falls. Apr 18, 2005

Two studies show airport security remains at pre-Sept. 11 levels. Two government studies will show airport security has not improved since the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, the Associated Press reports. The federal government took over security at 450 airports in early 2002. However, the reports found federal screeners are no better at detecting potentially dangerous items than the previous airport workers. The Transportation Security Administration declined to comment because the reports had not yet been released. Apr 18, 2005

Cigarette lighters are now totally banned since last week on US flights. Unlike guns, knives and other dangerous items that a passenger cannot carry on in his pocket but may stow in checked luggage bags, lighters are prohibited from anywhere on an aircraft. Whilst the throwaway manufacturers initially complained in a very visible manner they should in fact benefit from the prohibition although one could argue that airport waste bins full of units illegal to travel could constitute even more danger. If you must have a smoke when you get off the 'plane you can have matches in your pocket. http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic/index.jsp Apr 18, 2005

Full planes expected this summer as demand soars. Travelers are expected to pack flights this summer, USA Today reports. Low fares have boosted the demand for travel. However, high fuel costs persist, and airlines are expected to continue to lose money. Apr 14, 2005

Camera used to detect galaxies may be used to detect weapons. Researchers are combining millimeter wave cameras, which are used to spot distant galaxies, with regular photography to detect concealed weapons, the Dow Jones News Wires reports. The Army could use the technology to spot hidden weapons on enemy soldiers, and it could also be used by police and airport security. The Army has funded some of the research to develop the cameras. Apr 13, 2005

Rule change expected to spark demand surge for U.S. passports. A new rule requiring U.S. citizens to show passports when returning to the country from destinations like Canada and Mexico will likely prompt millions of Americans to apply for passports. The State Department has the capacity to issue 10 million passports per year but expects demand to increase to as many as 17 million a year; to cope with the crunch, the department is opening new passport agencies and hiring more employees. Apr 12, 2005

Report by OAG, the global data company, published April 11 2005 , that budget airlines now account for 12% of all scheduled flight operations and 15% of all available seats. In other words low cost operators are providing one in eight of the world's scheduled flights. The statistics provided by OAG are impressive. Predictably, the biggest year-on-year growth is in China. Compared with April 2004, the current month will see a 12% growth in flights to and from China, and a massive 20% increase in domestic sectors. Worldwide, the growth figure is 5%.This is in spite of rising oil prices and is backed up by similar figures published by the World Travel and Tourism Council at its summit in Delhi just concluded. OAG also notes that it is tracking a staggering 160 potential start up airlines. http://www.oag.com/about_oag/company_info/press_releases/us/QCB405.asp Apr 11, 2005

Passport proposal concerns some travelers. A proposal that would require U.S. citizens returning from Canada and Mexico to flash their passports has drawn mixed reviews from travelers. Travelers must only show their driver's license when reentering the U.S. Some say getting a passport is too complicated, and others say the proposed rule would cause delays at border crossings. The guidelines are part of an effort to keep terrorists out of the U.S. and would be fully effective in 2008. Apr 8, 2005

Airlines develop information databases to market services to customers. Several large airlines are developing banks of information about their customers, InformationWeek reports. The passenger information is then used to market different services to the fliers, such as upgrades. American Airlines, for example, has been adding more information to its customer database since 2002. Information includes whether passengers have been willing to give up seats or take advantage of upgrades, among other things. Apr 6, 2005

U.S. citizens will need passports to reenter from Canada, Mexico in 2008. The U.S. will phase in a new rule requiring its citizens to use a passport to reenter the country from Canada, Mexico, Panama, Bermuda and the Caribbean, authorities announced Tuesday. The U.S. is attempting to tighten border security and will phase in the requirement during the next three years. The State Department will hire 500 more employees to process the applications. Apr 6, 2005

DHS stages mock terrorist attacks in New Jersey, Connecticut. The Department of Homeland Security began its largest terrorism drill ever on Monday to test local, state and federal emergency response capabilities, the New York Times reports. The exercise, a simulated car bombing and chemical attack, will continue through Friday. The test will also be used to assess intelligence gathering. Apr 5, 2005

Travelers, privacy advocates oppose plan for chips in passports. Travel groups and privacy advocates are opposing the government's plan to embed U.S. passports with radio frequency chips, the Washington Post reports. The government said the chips will help prevent passport fraud, but critics say the technology is untested and terrorist groups could use the technology to identify U.S. citizens when they travel abroad.

Apr 4, 2005

The UK Department for Transport is advising airlines operating out of the UK that from April 25 2005 metal cutlery can again be used for cabin services and that airport security personnel will have much more flexibility in allowing sharp items onto aircraft. Nail files should be OK as will be knitting needles, tweezers and scissors with blade lengths of up to 3cm. The measures were brought in after September 11, but this has not been the case in the US where passengers on domestic flights in first class are still treated to metal knives and forks. Likewise in much of the Middle East. With all UK registered large transport aircraft now having reinforced locked doors, and following representation by the airlines, the Department says the rules have been looked at again. Apr 4, 2005

American visitors will travel to Europe in record numbers this year despite the dollar's precipitous decline against the euro. Travel agencies say bookings are stronger than they had expected and may reflect pent-up demand from the post-September 11 2001 period in which many Americans were reluctant to travel very far from home. http://www.astanet.com Apr 4, 2005

Deregulation by the European Commission of computer reservation systems for air travel later this year is being decried by consumer groups and companies such as Cendant and Galileo. Critics say the move could give greater dominance to Amadeus, which controls much of the computer reservations market in Western Europe, and could lead to higher prices for consumers in France, Germany and Spain. http://www.europa.eu.int Apr 4, 2005

U.S. legislators have rebuffed an EU request to delay rolling out new high-security passports. The European Commission warned of long visa delays for millions of transatlantic tourists and executives. The US wants all countries whose citizens do not need a visa to enter the US on a 90-day trip, to issue new passports containing a computer chip with a digital photograph of the holder by October 25 2005. The EU says it will not be ready in time and to avoid lengthy visa application delays it has asked Washington to extend the deadline to August 28 2006. "I must advise such an outcome is unlikely," the chairman of the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee chairman James Sensenbrenner said in a letter to the EU, rebuffing the request. "The increased awareness and concern, of both the American public and most members of Congress, regarding continued weakness in US border security, will make an additional extension difficult to accomplish. The American travel industry has said the US economy could lose $10bn to $15bn a year if the visa waivers no longer apply. http://www.uscis.gov Apr 4, 2005

Accenture, the management consultants have come up with some interesting statistics as to the way that people in commerce arrange their travel. In a survey of more than 450 UK business travelers, they found that 53% organize their movements online, compared to 47% who did so in 2003, when Accenture first fielded the survey. In contrast, only 27% reported that their preferred booking method is by telephone with a live agent, down from 41% in 2003. Additionally, 46% of respondents say they have used airport kiosks to check in and almost three-quarters (72%) of those who have used kiosks said they did so largely for their convenience. According to the survey, respondents continue to prefer major network carriers for business travel (cited by 55%), and they use both major network carriers and low-cost airlines for personal travel in equal amounts. At the same time, however, almost two-thirds (63%) of respondents said they expect their use of low-cost air carriers to increase or remain the same over the next six months. In addition, 46% said they would increase their usage of low-cost carriers, if they offered more flights into main airports. http://www.accenture.com Apr 30, 2005

Airports prepare, upgrade for Airbus superjumbo jet. Airports around the world are working to accommodate the Airbus A380 superjumbo jet, the New York Times reports. Officials say the plane with be something of a burden, unloading hundreds of passengers into airports at once. Airports are also buttressing their runways for the plane, which can weigh 1.2 million pounds when it takes off. The plane will enter service next year. Apr 29, 2005

Airlines consider how to adjust if cell phone ban is lifted. Airlines are considering how they will adapt if government regulators decide to lift the in-flight ban on cell phones, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. They are considering phone and no-phone sections and etiquette rules. The Federal Communications Commission is taking comments on the cellphone issue through May 27. Apr 29, 2005

Airport official: Plan to cut 400 screeners could be "disastrous". Officials at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport are concerned about the Transportation Security Administration's plan to eliminate up to 400 screener positions, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. General manager Ben DeCosta said the plan "would be disastrous for customer service." TSA officials would not confirm the plan. Apr 12, 2005

British Airport Authorities's seven UK airports handled 11.6 million passengers in March, an increase of 7.7% on the same month last year. The numbers were helped by an early Easter holiday. Stripped of the Easter effect, the underlying increase for March is estimated at 5%. For the financial year-end March 2005, 141.7m people passed through the airports, an increase of 6.3% against the previous financial year. European scheduled markets increased 9.7%, helped by a 21% increase in passenger numbers carried by low cost airlines. North Atlantic markets were 3.3% higher and traffic on other long haul routes added 14.1%. Despite the earlier Easter, European charter markets declined 1.9% reflecting continued competitive pressures. UK domestic routes recorded 4% growth. Individually all the airports reported increases in March. Gatwick (see left) benefited most from the early Easter and recorded the highest growth during the calendar month at 15.4%. Passenger numbers exceeded 32m during the financial year, the first time numbers have broken this barrier since September 2001. Heathrow was 5.2% up on the previous year while Stansted increased 9.1%. http://www.baa.com Apr 18, 2005

Berlin[sup.1]s future airport project, Brandenburg International, essentially a major development of the existing Schoenefeld, has suffered another setback. The Federal Administrative Court has ruled that construction could not begin until it had looked at the nearly 4,000 complaints filed against the authority's clearance of the project. A ruling will not be made until the first half of 2006 which will clearly put back any possible future opening date for the project. In the meantime the decision will provide a lifeline for Berlin's inner city at Tempelhof and confuse the authorities whether to promote the existing Schoenefeld operation or try and accommodate further traffic at Berlin's current major gateway at Tegel. Limited investment at Tempelhof is of course another alternative. http://www.berlin-airport.de Apr 18, 2005

Boeing's latest jetliner may help some passengers avoid air sickness. Boeing's new 787 jetliner will handle turbulence better than the company's other models, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Unlike other Boeing planes, the 787's airframe will be comprised almost completely of composites. The company predicts that just 2% of passengers will become air sick during turbulence on the 787, compared with 5% on other jetliners. Apr 13, 2005

Weight of the Boeing 777-300ER could be issue at Paris Orly. The 777-300ER is too heavy for the runways at Paris Orly, La Tribune reported, adding that this could pose problems for Air France, which intends to operate the aircraft from the airport beginning next summer on its popular leisure routes to the Caribbean and Indian Ocean as it retires its 747-200 fleet. Aeroports de Paris confirmed the report and said the 777-300ER, although lighter, could damage Orly's runways owing to the heavier footprint per bogey and higher pavement loading compared to the 747-200, which distributes its weight over more bogey wheels and main landing gear. Apr 13, 2005

Caviar House, whose seafood bars have been long established at all three major London airports have now introduced takeaway in-flight meals. The new concept allows customers to create their own repast from Seafood Bar's extensive range, specially selected and packaged to suit the needs of the traveler. The deluxe takeaway meals are presented on a special tray complete with bread and butter, security approved cutlery and napkin, and are placed in stylish cool bags which can be easily carried on to flights. The bags will keep the tray cool for up to five hours, so freshness is guaranteed well into a flight. The trays are the same size as those found on aircraft with disposable packaging and fit neatly on to the drop down table. Prices start from [pounds sterling]11.50 for a smoked salmon meal to [pounds sterling]30 for the luxury lobster salad. Your fellow passengers will be impressed. http://www.caviar-house.com Apr 11, 2005

Plan to expand Chicago O'Hare meets stiff opposition. A plan to expand Chicago O'Hare International Airport is meeting opposition by the airport's neighbors, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. O'Hare has more delays than any other large U.S. airport. An expansion would help ease the congestion, but critics say the plan is too expensive and its benefits are overstated. Apr 6, 2005

Business travelers are eager for in-flight Internet service. Business travelers are willing to pay for Internet access on long flights, and several international carriers are accommodating them, CNN.com reports. Germany's Lufthansa was the first carrier to install in-flight Internet access last spring, and several others have made the service available. Boeing's Connexion costs travelers $30 for long flights and $10 for short flights. Connexion faces competition from an Airbus joint venture called OnAir. Apr 1, 2005

Dallas/Fort Worth installs advanced bag-screening system. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport has installed an advanced bag-screening system. The machine uses a combination X-ray and CAT scan to earmark bags for extra screening. When it is completed, the $220 million system will be the largest in the world. The airport eventually will have 47 large explosive detection systems. Apr 12, 2005

Consultant: D/FW would not lose traffic if Wright Amendment is lifted. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport would not lose traffic if restrictions at Dallas Love Field were lifted, according to aviation consultant Michael Boyd. Instead, traffic at Love Field would grow, and then stabilize after Southwest Airlines launched service to more cities, the Dallas Morning News reports. Southwest wants a law limiting flights out of Love Field lifted, but D/FW and American Airlines believe the law should stay in place. Apr 7, 2005

DHS official dismisses talk of delaying passport rule change. Michael Neifach, director of immigration policy at the Department of Homeland Security, said during a travel forum that there are no plans to alter or delay a planned rule change that would require U.S. citizens to show a passport when reentering the country from certain foreign destinations. President Bush recently said he was concerned about how the rule change might impact travel, but officials say the proposal had White House approval. Apr 26, 2005

Easyjet has introduced common check-in desks at Luton airport. Whilst in theory this only works for the airline/handling agent, cutting down the staff required, in practice the waiting is no longer, and in fact probably less, as the length of the queues are more or less equal. Check-in for each flight now opens two hours beforehand (rather than three) and there is a special desk for late arrivals, but not less than 30 minutes, and supervisory staff to help those in need of assistance. A self-service check-in facility is also being prepared, similar those already used by some major airlines. http://www.london-luton.co.uk Apr 22, 2005

G2 may pose challenges to Sabre, other competitors. Because U.S. airlines pay about $1 billion a year to global distribution systems, it's no surprise many are backing G2 SwitchWorks, which offers much lower booking fees than Sabre and its other competitors. One analyst said the end result of the clash between G2 and its established rivals may be that "travel agents are going to see less money coming in from the GDS and from the airline." Apr 29, 2005

Jamaica's tourist arrivals for 2004 have increased 4.8 percent over the same period in 2003, and by 11.7 percent over 2002. There were a total of over 1.3 million foreign stopover arrivals to Jamaica since January 2004, an increase of over 60,000 visitors despite the effects of Hurricane Ivan in September. Total stopover arrivals amounted to over 1.4 million, representing a 4.8 percent increase from 2003. The vast majority of arrivals came from the U.S., with the heaviest activity from the northeast market. There were just over 996,000 stopover arrivals from the U.S., representing an increase of 3 percent. Apr 7, 2005

JetBlue has signed a five-year contract with EzRez Software for its dynamic packaging technology. This will give the airline's Web site the capability of booking air, hotel, car and activities at one time. Tim Claydon, senior vice president of sales and marketing for JetBlue, said more than 75 percent of the airline's customers book from jetblue.com. EzRez offers its software to airlines, hotels, rental car companies and cruise lines. Apr 6, 2005

U.S. authorities last week turned back a KLM Boeing 747 flight from Amsterdam to Mexico City as, according to its manifest, it was carrying two passengers included on a US 'no fly' terrorist list. Whilst the passengers had cleared all the security aspects of Schiphol Airport and the aircraft was not due to land in the US nevertheless the Department of Homeland Security was within its rights to refuse entry in its air space. The aircraft had to return to Amsterdam, offload the two passengers, and then operate with a fresh crew back to Mexico. http://www.klm.com Apr 18, 2005

Las Vegas' McCarran Int'l Airport to complete large expansion this year. An expansion and new technology have smoothed out congestion problems at Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, Architecture Week reports. The project, which cost $1.8 billion and was split into five phases, will be completed this year. Improvements include two runway expansions, new landside roadways and freeways, tunnels and bridges and an automated "people-mover" transit system. Apr 5, 2005

Loch Ness International Airport: With the current vogue to rename/re-brand airports to identify with their locations Inverness Airport, the hub of the Highlands, could join Robin Hood with a fantasy title. Whilst booming, the airport is set to throughput 720,000 passengers next year as against 320,000 post 9/11, there is a strong requirement to seek a scheduled destination on mainland Europe. 70% of passengers originate from third party airports. The argument is that 'Johnny foreigner' has heard of Loch Ness, but not the city at its eastern end. Regulars to the airport will be pleased to learn that work is scheduled to begin very shortly on a new access road from the A96, where a roundabout will be constructed. The contract calls for completion within 12 months. http://www.hial.co.uk Apr 22, 2005

The Massachusetts Port Authority is tightening security at Logan International Airport after the arrest of 14 undocumented workers last week, the Boston Globe reports. Massport is revoking security passes for hundreds of employees of contractors who have access to secured areas and will also start issuing identification badges itself, instead of allowing contractors to issue them. Apr 1, 2005

Heathrow terminals 2 and 4 will be the subject of the UK's IRIS (Iris Recognition Immigration System) when a new system is introduced shortly. Under Project IRIS, anyone not holding an EU passport who regularly travels through Heathrow will be invited to have their iris patterns photographed and stored in a database upon departure. Those passengers can then use special automated security check-points which scan their eyes, avoiding queues when they return to this country. Germany's Frankfurt Airport has already introduced the system on a trial basis, along with some US airports. The technology is likely to arouse less suspicion from passengers than a new X-ray machine introduced at Heathrow last year which sees through clothes. The Home Office plans to roll out the system at Heathrow's other terminal and the rest of the UK's major airports. http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk Apr 22, 2005

Moskow Sheremetyevo Airport, locked in a years-old debate over whether to build a third terminal, has now said it wants to build a fourth one. Sheremetyevo is stuck in complicated talks with the government and state carrier Aeroflot over how to upgrade its two run-down terminals, last expanded for the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Another point of debate is whether to build Sheremetyevo-3, Aeroflot's pet project. The government and Sheremetyevo initially opposed the idea but they now see a third terminal as a step towards turning the airport into a major hub between Europe and Asia. Aeroflot intends to start building the third terminal in June but it is unclear how the $430m project would develop after Sheremetyevo said it wanted a controlling stake in it. In the meantime competitor Domodedovo continues to boom with Oneworld partner Iberia the latest to introduce services. http://www.sheremetyevo-airport.ru Apr 4, 2005

MyTravel has admitted that rebuilding profits to normal industry levels in the UK will take another two years. At its annual general meeting, the company said it was on course for making a profit across its three operating divisions next year and an industry standard margin of 3.5% in the UK in 2007. The company - which last year won a battle with bondholders to avoid bankruptcy with an [pounds sterling]800m financial restructuring after incurring massive losses over successive years - revealed UK capacity had been reduced by an unspecified amount this year, improvements were being made to its product offering and there continued to be a focus on cost control. The group revealed the impact of the Asian tsunami disaster on Boxing Day 2004 is likely to cost [pounds sterling]2m in the UK and [pounds sterling]10m in its Northern Europe division. http://www.mytravelgroup.com Apr 4, 2005

New Delhi and Mumbai airports will be restructured and modernised according to the Indian government. Nine bidders have been short-listed and they have 12 weeks to submit their technical and financial bids, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has announced. Singapore's Changi Airport and Germany's Fraport are in the race for the airports. The modernisation of the two airports is estimated to cost more than $800m. The Indian government aims to set up two joint venture companies to hold the leases to operate the two airports and is offering a 74% stake in each to private firms. State-owned firms including the Airports Authority of India, the umbrella body that operates India's 125 airports, will hold the remaining 26%. http://www.airportsindia.org.in Apr 4, 2005

Oneworld has beaten its rivals to become the first alliance to complete total interline e-ticketing links. The final union was between Aer Lingus and LAN Chile, an illogical pairing but necessary to demonstrate strength of the whole scheme. Customers can now travel with the convenience of just one electronic ticket throughout the combined network served by the alliance's eight member airlines - Aer Lingus, American Airlines, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair, Iberia, LAN Chile and Qantas. Together, they fly to some 600 destinations in 135 countries. Besides the convenience the cash saving estimated to be $65m annually to the airline partners. http://www.oneworldalliance.com Apr 22, 2005

Phoenix officials take steps to ease long security lines, congested checkpoints. Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor are trying to ease congested security lines and checkpoints. They are now adding space to checkpoint areas and plan to renovate Terminal 2 so more lines and security personnel can be accommodated. Other large airports face similar problems. Apr 25, 2005

Phoenix airport in search of sturdy, blast-proof garbage cans. Phoenix's Sky Harbor Airport is soliciting bids for blast-proof trash cans. The cans must be able to survive a bomb blast while holding 40 gallons of rubbish. Each garbage can would cost up to $3,500. Several other airports are seeking similar garbage cans which they hope can prevent mass injuries. Apr 8, 2005

Phoning from abroad has in the past always been expensive but with new technology and the worldwide use of mobile phones, costs are coming down. However for the most part, the overseas user has to pay for the connection between his phone and the one at the other end, both ways. Now a new service has been launched using a single SIM card avoiding roaming charges in 110 countries and includes a global 24 hour top-up facility from the phone or on the web. Called 'sim4travel' is available through travel agents and on line with a claimed saving of up to [pounds sterling]1.80 per minute and no expensive 'both way' costs.http://www.sim4travel.com Apr 30, 2005

Swiss alters sales/marketing team. Swiss International Air Lines announced a reorganization of its sales and marketing division last week. Christoph Beckmann will join the management board with responsibility for all marketing activities, while the worldwide sales organization will be headed directly by CEO Christoph Franz until the effects of the company's link-up with Lufthansa are identified more clearly. Oliver Evans, currently chief sales and marketing officer, will concentrate on the overall management of Swiss WorldCargo. Personnel changes also were announced at the head of the company's IT and Aeropolitical Affairs units. Apr 20, 2005

The reopening of the Imam Khomeini International Airport at Tehran, virtually 12 months to the day after the US$400m project was closed by revolutionary guards 24 hours after its official opening. A political hot potato it is 30 miles south of the capital. When flights began on Saturday officials said all international services will be switched from the current Mehrabad airport by March 2006. http://www.iranair.com Apr 30, 2005

TSA overspends without delivering on safety. The Transportation Security Administration is falling short of improving security measures, but continues to overspend on art and expensive appliances, the Los Angeles Times' Margaret Carlson writes. More spending to upgrade screening machines could help reduce costs and eliminate waste, she writes. Apr 28, 2005

Five airports to test new security technology as part of TSA program. Five U.S. airports that serve international cities will test new technologies intended to improve security, CNN reports. The Transportation Security Administration said the program will involve cell phones, high-tech iris scanners and other devices. Airports in Boston, New York, Denver, Orlando and Salt Lake City will participate. Apr 27, 2005

TSA faces heavy criticism for security policies from travel groups. The Transportation Security Administration has done little to improve air security, New York Times columnist Joe Sharkey writes. Frequent fliers complain the agency's rules are continually changing and are intrusive. Travel organizations also say some TSA policies, including a ban on lighters, create a false sense of security. Apr 26, 2005

Smokers cope without lighters after TSA ban. Smokers are getting used to flying without their lighters, the Associated Press reports. On April 14, the Transportation Security Administration started banning lighters on flights and beyond airport security checkpoints. Matches are still allowed. Some airports have made free matches available in their smoking lounges. The TSA confiscated more than 135,000 lighters in the first days of the ban. Apr 25, 2005

Stone's departure from TSA raises concerns about agency's future. Some lawmakers believe the departure of Transportation Security Administration head David M. Stone signals Republicans are ready to dismantle the TSA, the Washington Post reports. Airport officials say high turnover at the TSA is not good for aviation, and they note a change in leadership will arrive ahead of the busy summer travel season. Stone announced his resignation on Friday. He will leave the TSA in June. Apr 11, 2005

Healthy economies pique United's interest in Asia. Growing Asian economies are driving United Airlines' interest in the region, the Denver Rocky Mountain News reports. The airline is increasing its international business and scaling back domestic flights as it tries to emerge from bankruptcy protection. United is focused on China, and also plans to add 1,000 seats a week to Hong Kong. Apr 4, 2005
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Date:Apr 30, 2005
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