New Orleans braces for monster hurricane


New Orleans braces for monster hurricane — New Orleans braced for a catastrophic blow from Hurricane Katrina overnight, as forecasters predicted the Category 5 storm could drive a wall of water over the city’s levees. The huge storm, packing 160 mph winds, is expected to hit the northern Gulf Coast and make landfall as a Category 4 or 5 hurricane Monday morning. (CNN)

Katrina targeting U.S. oil operations — With crude oil prices near record levels, a hurricane targeted the heart of America’s oil and refinery operations Sunday, shutting down an estimated 1 million barrels of refining capacity and sharply curbing offshore production throughout the region. (AP)

Pilots brace for second round of bargaining — Even as Northwest Airlines mechanics walk their picket lines, the head of the pilots union has told the Star Tribune that his members are gearing up for a second round of bargaining in which management will demand more than $300 million in concessions. Those cuts would come on top of a 15 percent pay cut the pilots took in December, said Mark McClain, chairman of the Northwest branch of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). (Star Tribune)

Founder of striking mechanics union has strong beliefs — Like characters in the Italian operas he loves, the founder of the mechanics union striking Northwest Airlines Corp. is a passionate man of strongly held beliefs and defiance. Those traits have helped put O.V. “Dell” Delle-Femine at the center of one of the most widely watched melodramas in U.S. labor relations in years. (AP)

Northwest strikers stay on picket lines — Hundreds of people gathered Saturday in support of striking Northwest Airlines workers, one week after union members walked off the job. (AP)

Tourists returning after hotel bombings — A month ago, terrorist bombings blasted the Red Sea resort of Sharm el Sheik, killing at least 64 persons, devastating a four-star hotel and sending hundreds of tourists fleeing on the next plane home. But now visitors are returning to Sharm, and Egypt’s tourist industry — the country’s No. 1 source of foreign currency — has not collapsed as it did in 1997 when Islamic terrorists fatally shot 58 persons at a Pharaonic temple in the southern town of Luxor. (AP)

Disney’s West Coast visit a hit, but Magic may be gone for good — Disney Magic’s summertime visit to the West Coast was “hugely popular,” according to Disney Cruise Line executives, but don’t look for a repeat performance — seasonal or permanent — anytime soon. The 12-week Mexican Riviera itinerary that ended Aug. 20, scheduled to coincide with Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, was an opportunity for the company to showcase the service to “a whole new audience,” said Christi Erwin, a spokeswoman for the line. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Cash-strapped airlines make travel risky in Peru — Planning an adventure tourism trip in rugged Peru? You’ll most likely have to get on a small, aging plane owned by a loss-making company, but if you make sure you land before dark in good weather you’ll probably be all right. The gruesome TANS jet crash that killed 39 people in Peru’s jungle last week has underscored the dangers of air travel in a country where hundreds of people already die every year in road accidents, overshadowing the country’s hopes to boost tourism. (Reuters)

Georgia Gov. will use Web to lure tourists — Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue on Sunday announced plans to launch an interactive World Wide Web travel site for tourists interested in Southern music. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Thousands will face delays as Katrina heads toward land — Tens of thousands of air travelers nationwide are expected to see delays and cancellations today as powerful Hurricane Katrina bears down on the Louisiana coast. Flights have been suspended at four airports — New Orleans; Gulfport-Biloxi, Miss.; Mobile, Ala.; and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., — and major disruptions are likely today at least a dozen airports in the path of the storm. (USA Today)

AmWest CEO upbeat on fuel prices — When America West Airlines and US Airways announced their merger in May, oil was around $50 a barrel. Last week, prices continued their summerlong march toward $70. The spike brings the airlines an added obstacle as they get ready to close a transaction already full of challenges. Higher fuel bills mean bigger losses in an already ailing industry. Ticket prices have been rising but not enough to make up for sky-high pump prices. (The Arizona Republic)

France aims for air ticket levy from 2006 — France’s government will start taking steps to introduce a levy on airline tickets from next year to fund aid for Africa, President Jacques Chirac said on Monday.

Still-powerful Hurricane Katrina moves north — Hurricane Katrina plowed into the Gulf Coast at daybreak Monday with shrieking, 145-mph winds and blinding rain, submerging entire neighborhoods up to the rooflines in New Orleans, hurling boats onto land and sending water pouring into Mississippi’s strip of beachfront casinos. (USAToday)

Katrina delivers blow to struggling airlines
— The one-two punch of Hurricane Katrina and oil prices briefly topping $70-a-barrel is giving the beleaguered major airlines just what they don’t need as they approach a traditionally slow travel season and a few of them flirt with bankruptcy. (AP)

Canada’s travel deficit highest in 12 years in second quarter — Statistics Canada says the country’s international travel deficit hit its highest level in 12 years during the second quarter of this year as spending by Canadians abroad reached an all-time high. (Canadian Press)

Skip Bowman, Carrie Charney, Leslie Friedman, John Frenaye, Charles Leocha, Marge Purnell, Valerie Schneider, Mary Staley, Stephanus Surjaputra, Richard Wong.