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Business in brief: Director of nonprofit leaves

Dennis Leidall, executive director of Connect Northwest, will leave the organization to take a new job with the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Connect Northwest is a nonprofit business-development organization focusing primarily on area tech firms. Leidall, who came to Spokane in 2005 from the University of California at San Diego, took over as executive director in 2006.

The Connect Northwest board plans to not fill his job with a new executive director, Leidall said. Former Itron executive Randi Neilson, a Connect Northwest board member, has agreed to take on some of Leidall’s duties, he said.

Tom Sowa

Airports see increased traffic

Passenger and freight activity at both Spokane airports increased in February, with boardings at Spokane International Airport surging almost 14 percent.

The total was 133,690, compared with 117,482 for the month in 2007. February’s traffic brought boardings for the first two months of 2008 to 525,715, a 9.22 percent increase over 2007.

Freight tonnage at SIA grew 7.21 percent to 4,352 tons in February. For the first two months of the year, tonnage has increased almost 8 percent to 9,006 tons.

At Felts Field, civil aviation operations rose to 3,914, which is 23 percent higher than the 2007 month. Operations so far this year are up 8.4 percent to 6,272. Freight tonnage was up 16 percent for the month, to 5.8 tons. Freight for the first two months of the year was up 2 percent to 10 tons.

Bert Caldwell


Delta Air Lines raises fees

Delta Air Lines is imposing new or higher fees on a host of travelers, including frequent fliers, passengers traveling with pets and people booking their tickets over the phone.

The fee changes, which go into effect today, come as Delta and its competitors try to boost revenue to offset record fuel prices. Delta did not say how much revenue it expected from the fee changes, but the parent company of United Airlines said one new fee would generate more than $100 million in revenue and cost savings each year. The industry has had mixed success with fare increases.

Betsy Talton, a spokeswoman for Delta Air Lines Inc., the country’s third-largest carrier, said Delta’s additional fees are largely in response to fuel prices and said that the most recent attempts by Delta to raise fares “have not been successful because there’s also a need for Delta to be competitive.”

Talton said Delta continuously reviews all aspects of its business “to make sure our business model is aligned with current costs.”

One of the fee changes most likely to rankle frequent fliers is a new $25 “handling charge” for any Delta award ticket booked through a Delta representative that includes a segment on another airline. The fee for booking an award ticket on another airline through Delta helps Delta recoup charges from the other airline, Talton said. Booking Delta award travel on another airline will not carry the new $25 fee if done online, Talton said.

Associated Press


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