Thanksgiving week to bring stuffed turkeys … and planes

THURSDAY, NOV. 8, 2012

NEW YORK – The recipe for Thanksgiving travel is likely to make travelers a little bitter this year.

Americans can expect airports to be busier and planes to be fuller than ever, according to a forecast by the main trade association for U.S. airlines two weeks ahead of the holiday. And fares are already more expensive than a year ago.

Airlines for America expects nearly 24 million travelers to fly from Friday, Nov. 16, through Tuesday, Nov. 27. That’s up slightly from a year ago.

This year’s uptick is in line with “the sluggish but consistent economic recovery,” aviation consultant Mark Kiefer said.

For those traveling on the busiest days around Thanksgiving, planes are expected to be close to 90 percent full, the trade group says. That forecast is an average, so expect most flights at peak hours to be completely full.

Sunday, Nov. 25, is projected as the busiest travel day, followed by Wednesday, Nov. 21, and Monday, Nov. 26.

Flights will be packed tighter because there are fewer of them. Airlines have been reducing flights to match demand, which in turn allows them to raise prices. Domestic fares are up 4 percent so far this year, according to the industry group. Kiefer expects that slight increase in fares to continue as airlines keep scaling back when they can.

Collectively U.S. airlines’ revenue rose 5.6 percent in the first nine months of this year.

Pharmacy board director fired in wake of meningitis outbreak

BOSTON – The director of the Massachusetts pharmacy board has been fired for ignoring a complaint that a company linked to a deadly meningitis outbreak was violating its license by shipping drugs in bulk.

The Colorado pharmacy board complained about the New England Compounding Center in July, before the third of three batches of tainted steroids tied to the outbreak was shipped in August. A spokesman said state investigators are still looking into any sickness or deaths related to that third batch.

After receiving the report, director James D. Coffey told Colorado officials that the Board of Registration in Pharmacy would “respond as soon as possible following a thorough analysis of (the report).”

Coffey forwarded the complaint to the board’s attorney, Susan Manning, who also failed to act, state officials said.

Coffey was fired Tuesday; Manning has been placed on administrative leave. Their replacements have not been publicly announced.

A contaminated steroid produced at the New England Compounding Center and used mainly to treat back pain has been linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak that has spread to 19 states, sickening more than 400 people, including 31 who died.

CBS reports earnings rose in third quarter from year ago

LOS ANGELES – Broadcaster CBS Corp. said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings rose 16 percent from a year ago as a decline in advertising revenue was offset by higher fees from TV distributors.

The New York-based company said ad revenue fell 3 percent due to poor results from CBS Radio and the impact of having programs pre-empted by the Republican and Democratic national conventions. Viewer attention was also drawn away by the London Olympics on NBC.

Net income in the three months to Sept. 30 rose to $391 million, or 60 cents per share. That’s up from $338 million, or 50 cents per share, a year ago.

CBS shares rose 52 cents to $34.52 in after-hours trading. The stock fell 43 cents to close at $34 in the regular session. Shares hit a 52-week high of $38.32 in September.


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