Lobbyists play role in passport issue


Ontario says lobbying against new U.S. passport rule has paid off — Intense political lobbying on both sides of the border is the reason a committee of the U.S. Senate and Congress is calling for a 17-month delay in a new passport requirement for people entering the United States, Ontario Tourism Minister Jim Bradley said Wednesday. (Canadian Press)

Spirit makes Airbus A-319 primary craft with new planes — Spirit Airlines passengers have seen the last of the linty airplane seat. As part of its plan to boost its image and expand its business, Spirit, the USA’s largest privately held airline, this month shed its remaining MD-80 planes, which were 10 to 20 years old. Spirit now flies a new fleet of Airbus aircraft with leather seats. (Detroit Free Press)

SFO is first U.S. airport with e-passport scanners
— The nation’s first so-called e-passport scanners were installed at San Francisco International Airport as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s effort to put the sophisticated machines at 33 airports. (AP)

Locust plague encircles Cancun — Clouds of locusts have descended around the Mexican beach resort of Cancun, destroying corn crops and worrying officials in a region still recovering from the devastating fury of last year’s Hurricane Wilma. (AP)

Israeli 747 went into dive over London — An Israeli El Al flight carrying 450 passengers briefly went into a dive over London earlier this year, plunging 2,800 feet after a glitch in its electronic landing system, authorities disclosed Wednesday. (AP)

AirTran delays delivery of 8 Boeing 737 jets
— AirTran Holdings, the parent company of discount carrier AirTran Airways, Wednesday said it was pushing back delivery of eight Boeing 737 aircraft. The move comes three weeks after the company cut its third-quarter revenue forecast due to softening travel demand. (Reuters)

British airline bmi eyes new medium-haul routes — British airline bmi is eyeing more medium-length flights like its new London-Moscow route in an effort to make better use of its valuable take-off and landing slots at Heathrow airport, the carrier’s chief said. (Reuters)

Oil steadies near $63 after surge — Oil steadied near $63 a barrel on Thursday, holding onto the previous day’s gains supported by investment fund buying and speculation that OPEC could trim output to bolster prices. (Reuters)

Airline passenger attacks other passenger, then vomits in aisle
— A deranged Japanese airline passenger elbowed another passenger for using an i-pod on the plane. Then he complained to crew that the man smelled. In a final act of protest he vomited in the aisle. (ShortNews.com)

Carrie Charney, Christopher Elliott, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.