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Tue, Aug 30, 2005

Dozens More Flights Canceled In Katrina's Wake

But That's Not The Worst

Aero-News Real Time Update: 1922 EDT -- Runway 19 at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport was reopened Tuesday afternoon -- but only to emergency relief traffic.

Emergency flights into and out of the flooded city will be restricted to daytime flights only, according to FAA regional spokesman Roland Herwig. As to when NOL would open to commercial flights, he told CNN, "We'll have to see. We're taking it a day at a time."

Commercial aviation continued to suffer Tuesday in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the worst storm to hit the northern Gulf Coast since Hurricane Camille in 1969. Dozens of flights were canceled again and there was growing concern about the rising price of oil.

"Overall the storm will hurt, but it's certainly not the same as the impact of rising oil prices," Philip Baggaley, airline analyst for Standard & Poor's Corp. told the Associated Press. If the price of oil continues to rise significantly, he said, that will have "a large effect."

Among those effects he said, could be the bankruptcy of Delta Airlines. Further increases in fuel prices could also delay the emergency from bankruptcy of both United Airlines and US Airways.

"Today's jet fuel prices are crushing and could prove to be a knockout blow for some," economist John Heimlich wrote in a report for the Air Transport Association. That, too, was quoted by the Associated Press.

Both Louis Armstrong International Airport in New Orleans and the airport in Gulfport/Biloxi, MS, remained closed on Tuesday with no indication when they might reopen. Schedule disruptions could well carry through the holiday weekend, FAA officials said.

FMI: www.faa.gov

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