Lufthansa has boarding passes by e-mail for overseas flights

Electronic boarding passes, which let travelers use a barcode sent to their smartphones to clear security and board, have previously been limited to domestic and regional fliers. Lufthansa says it became the first airline to introduce the service on intercontinental flights, when it used the technology this month for its Frankfurt-Vancouver, British Columbia, route. The German carrier plans to extend its use to more long-haul routes over the next few weeks.

Since Lufthansa introduced the service last summer, the number of passengers opting to have their mobile boarding pass sent to them by text messaging or e-mail has grown to about 75,000 passengers a month, it says.

•Air traffic continues

to decrease in Europe, with 13.6% fewer passengers traveling through European airports in February than a year earlier, according to Airports Council International-Europe. "The double whammy of falling aviation and commercial revenues is hitting Europe's airports more and more severely with each passing month," says Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI-Europe.

Among the airports hardest hit: Milan Malpensa (-33%), Moscow Domodedovo (-26%), Barcelona (-22%), Madrid Barajas (-17%), Copenhagen (-19%) and Brussels (-19%).

•To boost the

region's flower business, Los Angeles International has opened a 12,700-square-foot refrigeration facility, the largest of its kind at any West Coast airport. The $1.1 million facility, built by Mercury Air Cargo, will accommodate up to 8,500 tons of flowers flown in from Latin America by LAN Cargo, a subsidiary of Chile's LAN Airlines.

Previously, flowers were flown from Bogota, Colombia, to Miami International and trucked to the West Coast. The whole trip could take as long as 60 hours. Flying them directly to LAX takes about 15 hours.

The airport says retail flower prices will drop in the region as a result.

The new facility will "establish LAX as a new West Coast hub for the flower trade," the airport says in a statement.

•Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Airport will close for several days next month to repair its sole runway. Work will start at 5 p.m. on May 25, and airport officials believe the work will be completed in about four days, allowing them to reopen for flights between May 30 and June 2.

About 450 passengers who will be affected by the closure will have to rebook to nearby airports, such as Idaho Falls, Idaho, or Salt Lake City. Airlines have agreed to waive change fees for the affected customers.

Route news

•Southwest says

its will start service at New York LaGuardia on June 28. The carrier will offer five daily flights to Chicago Midway and three daily flights to Baltimore/Washington. Late last year, Southwest bought bankrupt ATA Airlines' takeoff and landing slots at LaGuardia.

•V Australia,

the long-haul unit of Australia's Virgin Blue, began service last week between Los Angeles and Brisbane, Australia, with three flights a week. The route is the carrier's second to the USA; its Los Angeles-Sydney route was launched earlier this year. The carrier says trans-Pacific fares have dropped 54% compared with the same time last year, because of the added competition.

Stimulus watch

•Dallas/Fort Worth says

it has received $8.8 million from the federal stimulus package. Distributed by the Federal Aviation Administration, the funds will be used for a runway renovation project, including lighting and surface repairs.

The FAA plans to allocate $1.1 billion of stimulus funds this year to airports for projects that address safety, security and capacity constraints.

•Oakland International,

which will receive $5 million from the stimulus package, plans to use the funds to expand a tarmac area.

•San Francisco International

will use a $5.5 million grant to repair a runway.

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