Is the airline ticket fee hike proposal dead? — A proposed Homeland Security Department authorization bill does not include the Bush administration’s proposal to raise airline ticket fees to $8 from $5 to provide an additional $2 billion, according to a copy sent Tuesday to House Homeland Security Committee members’ offices. Appropriators have said the fee hike must be authorized by Congress before they could include the revenue in the fiscal 2006 Homeland Security appropriations bill. (GovExec)
Air Jamaica may fold its wings — The cash-strapped Air Jamaica could be closed down as part of a restructuring exercise, a senior official revealed, according to the Caribbean Media Corporation. Dr. Vin Lawrence, Chairman of the restructuring group, said such a recommendation could not be ruled out when the team presents its findings to Prime Minister Percival J. Patterson at the end of next month.
Superjumbo takes off in Toulouse for test flight — The world’s largest passenger plane, the Airbus A380, has taken off from Toulouse, France for its first-ever flight. The double-decked “superjumbo” lifted off the runway at 10:29 a.m. (0829 GMT) Wednesday for the test flight with a six-member crew aboard. (CNN)
InterContinental Amex card allows point redemption at any hotel — InterContinental Hotels Group today announced an expansion of its Priority Club frequent guest program to allow U.S. members to redeem points earned at IHG-brand hotels at non-IHG properties worldwide. In a lodging-industry first, IHG partnered with American Express to issue a debit card that allows Priority Club members to convert points to a cash equivalent that then can be used for free stays at other hotels. (BTN)
Caribbean worries about new US passport rules — New U.S. travel rules aimed at closing America’s borders to terrorists may cause trouble for an unintended target — poor Caribbean countries seeking vital U.S. tourist dollars, regional officials say. (AP)
Vials of herbal extract divert flight — A United Airlines plane from New York to San Francisco was diverted to Chicago on Tuesday after a passenger reported suspicious materials, but police investigating the complaint said the items turned out to be vials of a harmless herbal extract. A bomb unit from the Chicago Police Department was alerted after UAL Corp.’s flight 27 with 74 people on board was diverted to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. (Reuters)
Contributing: Charles Leocha, John Frenaye