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Flight Attendants Union Wants Combat Training

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USA Today | Flight attendants press for hand-to-hand combat training as anti-terror measure The Association of Flight Attendants is pushing Congress to fund combat training as part of a four-point plan that the union says would improve security inside aircraft cabins. The Los Angeles Times reports the union "hopes that lawmakers will include money to put some of their ideas into action under an upcoming funding bill for the Federal Aviation Administration."

According to the Times, the attendants' four-point plan includes: "Mandatory hand-to-hand combat training for all crew members"; portable communication devices that would allow attendants to speak with pilots during emergencies; a standard maximum size for carry-on luggage "so that flight attendants can look for suspicious passengers instead of struggling with oversized bags"; and the ability to shut down in-flight Wi-Fi "during high-threat periods to prevent terrorists from communicating with collaborators on the ground."

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Airlines Will Cancel Flights to Avoid Delay Fines

NBC News - Dallas, Ft. Worth |  Passengers may soon be seeing more cancellations on airport departure boards. Several airlines, including Fort Worth-based American and Houston-based Continental, say they will cancel flights rather than risk paying stiff penalties for delaying passengers on the runway.

Continental's CEO told investors Tuesday that the airline will opt to cancel flights rather than chance being fined. Aviation consultant Denny Kelly expects other airlines to follow suit.

“I think all of them will cancel flights,” he said. “They'll do it partially because they think they are going to punish passengers, and if they punish them, someone will get this legislation removed.”

Under new federal guidelines that take effect next month, airlines can be fined up to $27,500 per passenger if a plane is stuck on the tarmac for longer than three hours.

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Obama to Nominate Ex-Army General to Head TSA

Washington (CNN) |  President Obama has tapped a former Army general to lead the Transportation Security Administration, sources have told CNN.

Obama plans to nominate Robert A. Harding, a retired major general with 33 years in the Army, to become the TSA administrator, sources said. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano will announce the nomination Monday with Harding by her side, according to one administration official.

"The TSA administrator is the most important unfilled post in the Obama administration," one administration official said. "Mr. Harding has the experience and perspective to make a real difference in carrying out the mission of the agency."

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Look into My Sole: TSA Shoe Scanners in the Works

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I don’t know about you, but I curse Richard Reid, the goofy-looking “shoe bomber,” every time I have to go through airport security—especially this time of year, when my slip-on, slip-off shoes are deep in storage. Amid talk of high-tech body scanners and some eight years after Reid's failed attempt to blow up a U.S.-bound American Airlines flight by igniting explosives hidden in his footwear, shoe security still proves elusive.

Which brings me to an email I got today from the Transportation Security Administration (if you’re a frequent traveler and don’t subscribe to the agency’s email news list, you should). Its subject line: What Ever Happened To The Shoe Scanner Idea? What ever happened indeed.

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Just KIDding! Child Directs Air Traffic at JFK

NBC - New York |  The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating why a child was allowed to direct air traffic at John F. Kennedy airport, one of the busiest airports in the country.

The FAA says a controller brought the child to work on February 17th and allowed him to talk to pilots.

"Pending the outcome of our investigation, the employees involved in this incident are not controlling air traffic," the FAA said in a statement. "This behavior is not acceptable and does not demonstrate the kind of professionalism expected from all FAA employees." The agency declined to comment beyond the statement.


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Major JFK Runway Closes for Repairs


The Consumerist |  Today marks the beginning of what could be an ugly four months at JFK International Airport, as the NYC-area travel hub loses its busiest runway for renovation work. This move has forced the airport to reduce the number of flights going in and out by 20% during this time.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates all three major airports in the NYC area, has reduced the total number of arrivals and departures at JFK from around 1,300 to 1,050.

The redo on Runway 13-31 isn't just a simple repaving job. The $376 million effort will widen the runway by 50 feet and add taxiways, all with the goal of reducing flight delays by around 10,500 hours each year.

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Continental Launches Mobile Boarding Passes at Heathrow

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Travel Daily News | Continental Airlines announced the expansion of its mobile boarding pass service to London’s Heathrow Airport, becoming the first carrier to offer paperless boarding passes on nonstop flights from the United Kingdom to the U.S.

The service allows customers to receive boarding passes electronically on their mobile phones or personal digital assistants (PDAs) and eliminates the need for paper boarding passes.

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Vietnam Builds Coastal Road Link to Cambodia and Thailand

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eTurbo News
|  According to Vietnamese media sources, construction will begin next month on
a 220-km long coastal road in the Mekong Delta as part of an international
 highway linking the country with Cambodia and Thailand, the project's
management board recently announced.

Running through the provinces of Ca Mau and Kien Giang, the US$440 million
road will be built in cooperation with the governments of South Korea and
Australia, as well as the Asian Development Bank with its seat in Manila,
Philippines.

Once it is completed, the road will be part of a nearly 1,000-kilometer link
known as the Thailand-Cambodia-Vietnam Southern Coastal Road Economic
Corridor, starting at Bangkok and ending at Ca Mau Province's Nam Can
District.

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UPDATE: Lufthansa Strike Suspended

Frankfurt, Germany (CNN) |  Both sides in a pilots strike against Lufthansa have agreed to suspend the standoff —which has canceled hundreds of flights—at midnight (6 p.m. Monday ET).

The suspension is set to expire on March 8, barring the reaching of an agreement before then, both sides said in a Frankfurt labor court.

"The judge was very clear," airline spokesman Klaus Walther said. "He recommended the union to stop the strike action and to return to the negotiation table."

Walther predicted the two sides would reach a final agreement "pretty fast."

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Lufthansa Pilots Strike, Upend Air Travel

New York Times - Associated Press |  Thousands of travelers scrambled to find flights, trains, hotel rooms or rental cars on Monday after Lufthansa pilots began a four-day walkout over job security that grounded at least 800 flights and upended travel across the continent.

Deutsche Lufthansa AG quickly rushed to get a court injunction to halt the strike and send 4,000 pilots back into their cockpits before more harm was done to passengers and shareholders.

The court in Frankfurt said a decision could come as soon as Monday night. (...) The strike disrupted travel plans for some 10,000 passengers worldwide.

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