Airport Check-in: Northwest orders anti-nuke ad removed


In Minneapolis Northwest Airlines, the official airline of the Republican National Convention, has ordered an airport advertising firm to pull down an anti-nuclear weapons billboard ad at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport that was placed in time for the upcoming convention.

The ad, placed by advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists, depicts a photo of an aerial cross-target locked onto downtown Minneapolis, the site of the convention that starts on Sept. 1. It urges Sen. John McCain that "it's time to get serious about reducing the nuclear threat. When only one bomb could destroy a city like Minneapolis, we don't need 6,000."

The group also bought a similar ad in Denver — addressing Sen. Barrack Obama — for the Democratic National Convention this week. "It's not an anti-McCain or anti-Obama ad," says Elliott Negin, spokesman for Union of Concerned Scientists.

Northwest says it asked Clear Channel Communications, which runs the advertising operation at Minneapolis-St. Paul, to remove the ad after receiving "several complaints from customers and employees on the content of this ad."

"The airport is a place where people of all political persuasions come for business and pleasure, and we wanted to avoid any issues related to what was perceived as a political message," says Northwest spokeswoman Tammy Lee in a statement.

Clear Channel says it complied because it's "under a contractual obligation to remove advertising copy … at the Minneapolis-St. Paul if (it) is objectionable to Northwest."

Clear Channel also voluntarily removed the ad in Denver last week "after being informed of the reasons for Northwest Airlines' objections to the advertising copy in question."


Solar panels added

Denver International has installed 9,200 solar panels that will generate more than 3 million kilowatt hours of solar electricity per year, or about half of the power needed to operate the airport's people-mover trains. Located on 7.5 acres of land, they're expected to reduce carbon emissions by more than 6.3 million pounds each year, DIA says. The project cost $13.5 million.

Fresno Yosemite installed similar solar panels earlier this year.


Airport discontinues diesel shuttles

Mineta San José International Airport has fully converted all of its 34 shuttles to run on compressed natural gas, joining a growing list of domestic airports that now ban diesel buses.

CNG shuttles have been running at the airport since 2003, but it completed the transition by placing 14 new ones into service in the last three weeks to replace the remaining diesel-fuel vehicles.

Since 2003, the airport has eliminated the use of more than 1.3 million gallons of diesel fuel and has saved over $3 million in fuel costs. It says the cleaner shuttles have also lowered vehicle exhaust emissions by about 76 tons every year since 2003.


Less flush, more water

In an effort to conserve water, Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson will be installing new toilets that use 1.28 gallons of water per flush vs. 1.6 gallons used by the current units. It also recently completed refitting men's urinals to use just half a gallon per flush, compared to one gallon in previous models.

Airport authorities estimate the changes will save 44 million gallons of water per year, or a reduction of 13% in airport water usage. The Atlanta area has experienced severe drought conditions in recent years.


AirTran adds destinations

AirTran says it will begin operating at Port Columbus International on Nov. 6, with three initial non-stop routes — Atlanta, Orlando and Fort Myers, Fla. JetBlue and Skybus ceased operations at the airport earlier this year, while Delta and American also cut back on service.

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