Mergers are a hot topic at Phoenix airline conference


Mergers are a hot topic at Phoenix airline conference — Every year airline industry executives meet in Phoenix for an international conference, and every year talk turns to the need for consolidation in the ailing business. This year, there’s finally something happening. (Arizona Republic)

Flying? Get ready to rough it — The pillow — a vestige of in-flight civility — is gone. Northwest Airlines made its pillows disappear in early March, as part of the airline’s advanced cost-cutting efforts. Yup, it’s a Darwinian struggle for survival in the skies right now, and if you can find a blanket to keep off the chill, rejoice. (Detroit News)

Hotel profits will soar by 14 to 16 percent in ’05 — It isn’t exactly a Boston Red Sox-size reversal of a losing streak, but the resurgence in bookings and check-in traffic at hotels last year evidently translated into profits for the first time in three years for the average U.S. hotel, a new research report says. PKF Hospitality Research Consulting projects profit growth in the 14 percent to 16 percent range for 2005. (Hotel Interactive)

It’s official: international travel has bounced back
— As travel rebounds from its post-Sept. 11 slump, airlines have restored air service to foreign destinations to about where it was before the attacks. U.S. and foreign carriers this month are offering about 49,200 non-stop departures from the lower 48 states to all parts of the globe, just 1% less than in April 2001, according to analysis of schedule data provided by Back Aviation Solutions. (USA Today)

Man arrested for Des Moines airport joyride — Air traffic at Des Moines International Airport was temporarily halted when a disoriented 70-year-old man drove in through an exit gate and led security on a chase onto an active taxiway. Duane Edwards Sheets drove through an open gate at the adjacent Iowa Air National Guard base Tuesday, nearly striking a guard who tried to stop him, said Col. Greg Schwab, commander of the 132nd Air Fighter Wing. (AP)

Got a billion dollars? Here’s how to travel — The world’s 691 billionaires have a lot in common. No, we’re not referring to their ten-figure bank account balances. They are in the unique position of being able to travel in the most convenient and luxurious manner possible. (Forbes)

Contributing: Charles Leocha, John Frenaye