Airport check-in: Birmingham may honor civil-rights pioneer

BIRMINGHAM

Officials at Birmingham International in Alabama are planning to rename the airport in honor of civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth.

In a meeting earlier this month, the Birmingham Airport Authority approved a proposal to rename it Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport. The name must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Born in Alabama in 1922, Shuttlesworth is an activist who, along with Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders, helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

FRESNO

Yosemite International ramps up solar power

Fresno Yosemite International has completed the installation of 11,700 solar panels on its property to generate clean electricity. Calling it the largest solar energy project at any U.S. airport, Fresno officials say the panels could provide up to 40% of the airport facilities' daily electrical needs. The panels, by New Jersey-based WorldWater & Solar Technologies, will deliver $13 million in energy cost savings in the next 20 years, the airport says.

The panels are installed on 9½ acres of land half a mile from the airport's entrance. The project cost $17 million.

WorldWater says it's working on a similar project for Denver International.

ATLANTA

Disabled fliers get some luggage help

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta has begun retrofitting 135 wheelchairs with rear luggage carriers that will make it easier for passengers in wheelchairs to handle their carry-on luggage.

"No longer will wheelchair-bound passengers have to transport their carry-on luggage in their laps," airport general manager Ben DeCosta said in a statement.

INDIANAPOLIS

Frontier flight to Cancun faces cancellation

Frontier Airlines, which provided Indianapolis International's only year-round non-stop flight to Mexico, will shut down the service on May 31. The Indianapolis-Cancun route was canceled because of rising fuel costs and Frontier's plans to trim back on non-profitable operations.

NEW YORK

JFK airport celebrates 60th birthday

Passengers at New York John F. Kennedy can ride the AirTrain — its 8-mile intra-airport rail system that connects to the nearest subway station — for free on Friday. It's part of the airport's 60th birthday celebration.

New York International Airport opened on July 31, 1948, and changed its name in 1963 in honor of the slain president. "Contrary to popular belief, the airport has never had any other official name, although it was commonly referred to as Idlewild," the airport said in a statement.

ST. LOUIS

Change is in the air at Lambert airport

St. Louis Lambert has a new website: FlySTL.com. Among the features on the redesigned site: local weather, lists of shops and restaurants, flight status for all arrivals and departures, construction updates and other airport news.

The airport also announced that it started a $17 million project this month to renovate its four domed ceilings, replace the baggage system and add roadway signs.

CHICAGO

Posters on display at O'Hare

Chicago O'Hare has unveiled a new art exhibit. More than 40 posters from the 2008 Chicago International Poster Biennial Association design competition are featured in International Terminal 5 through mid-December. The association aims "to promote visual literacy, multiculturalism and international cooperation through the work of poster designers from around the world," it says.

Every Monday, we report on the latest news in airports across the USA. See something noteworthy in your travels? E-mail your suggestions to ryu@usatoday.com.

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