World’s travel industry braces for bird flu


World’s travel industry braces for bird flu — The world’s travel industry says it’s already working to ease fears over bird flu, upgrading air filters on planes and stockpiling drugs, hoping to head off a potential disaster. (AFP)

Tourists’ misery spreads in Cancun — Tourists camped out in hopes of grabbing a precious seat on flights leaving Mexico’s hurricane-ravaged Caribbean coast, and some residents of Cancun’s poorer neighborhoods armed themselves with machetes and erected barricades to ward off looters. (AP)

Wilma deals $800 million blow to Mexican travel industry
— Mexican authorities were still assessing the damage from Hurricane Wilma as they worked to get aid to the storm-ravaged Yucatan Peninsula, but the country’s tourism minister said the region stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars. (CNN)

Northwest says it’s nearly finished replacing mechanics — Northwest Airlines said Wednesday it has nearly finished replacing its striking mechanics. The company has hired nearly all of the 880 in-house mechanics it needs, spokesman Bill Mellon said. (AP)

Tropical Storm Beta forms off Nicaragua
— Tropical Storm Beta formed Thursday in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, extending this year’s record of named storms in the Atlantic hurricane season. (CNN)

Downhill drive: gas prices slide — Gasoline maintained a downward pace Thursday as pump prices fell over two cents, according to travel club AAA’s daily fuel report. (CNN/Money)

New digitized passport rules — A Homeland Security Department rule that went into effect Wednesday requires visitors from certain countries to carry passports with digital photos and punishes carriers that transport people to the United States without the new passports. (Government Executive)

High-calorie pit stops to get makeover on N.Y. Thruway — A pit stop along the New York Thruway usually means loading up on high-calorie hot dogs, french fries and ice cream. Now the Thruway Authority is bringing in a slew of vendors it says will give health-conscious travelers other options. (AP)

Three largest South Florida airports now open — South Florida’s three largest airports were open to commercial traffic Thursday, although officials said it could be at least another day before service returns to levels seen before Hurricane Wilma. (AP)

Airline industry ‘fixable’ — How do you fix the broken, battered airline industry? Change bankruptcy laws so carriers have a shorter amount of time to restructure. (Rocky Mountain News)

Delta fares on rise again — With air fares increasing nationally, ticket prices on Delta Air Lines from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport are increasing faster than from Dayton or Louisville, an Enquirer analysis shows. (Cincinnati Enquirer)

New runway opens at Minneapolis airport — A replica of Charles Lindbergh’s The Spirit of St. Louis made the first flight from the new runway at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on Thursday, while some residents in the south metro area are bracing for more noise. (AP)

Southwest adds flights — Southwest Airlines said Thursday it would add 49 flights, including eight to New Orleans, over the next four months. (AP)

Delta, Northwest want help, but pensions vulnerable — Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines want Congress to grant them pension relief, but experts believe the bankrupt carriers instead might try to terminate their plans even if lawmakers provide more time to fund them.

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