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Air France Plane Crash, Acapulco Shootout and Airline Industry Recession Woes

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Flight above oceanBodies, Debris May Offer Insight into Air France Crash

Sixteen bodies and airplane wreckage found in the Atlantic Ocean over the weekend may provide clues to what went wrong on Air France Flight 447.

The human remains and debris, which includes a large tail section of the plane that was discovered Monday, will be flown to the Brazilian island of Fernando de Noronha and then to the city of Recife to identify the bodies and help determine what happened to the Airbus A330.Some data has already suggested that a series of events may have taken place as the plane flew into storms, and at least one air speed indicator had failed, possibly due to icing.

Based on previous crashes caused by similar factors, it’s possible that the pilots received conflicting warnings about the plane’s speed.

Conflicting information could have prompted the pilot to speed up to a point that the plane would begin breaking apart mid-air.Air France logo Several other planes flew through the thunderstorms with no problems, indicating that weather was perhaps not the sole cause of this accident.

Searches are underway to uncover the black-box data recorders. The U.S. is sending two sophisticated listening devices to Brazil that can detect signals from up to a depth of about 20,000 feet underwater. A French submarine will also arrive this week to help with the search.

Air France first noticed problems with speed monitors last year, and began making recommendations to replace them in Airbus planes a few weeks before the crash.

Learn more in our Plane Crashes & Aviation Safety section.

18 Dead in Acapulco Resort-Area Drug Shootout

SoldiersIn another blow to Mexico’s tourism image, a drug-related shootout over the weekend in Acapulco left 16 gunmen and two soldiers dead.

The dramatic scene between alleged drug traffickers and the Mexican army spanned more than four hours late Saturday night. The shooters were holed up in a mansion in a once-glamorous seaside neighborhood a few miles from the main tourist strip.

Reportedly 3,000 gunshots and 50 grenade explosions rocked the neighborhood as Mexican tourists retreated to their hotels. Nine people were wounded, including three bystanders. Four men claiming to be Mexican police officers were discovered handcuffed and shirtless inside the house.

This scene is likely to be another devastating blow to Mexican tourism, which has been pummeled by the economy, the H1N1 flu outbreak, and escalating drug violence.

For the latest in travel to Mexico, don’t miss Mexico Tourism Uses Deep Discounts to Lure Back Travelers.

Over the past several months, defenders of Mexican tourism have pointed out that the violence has been limited to border towns. However the Guerrero state, where Acapulco is located, has seen its fair share of drug activity over the years as cartels vie for territory.

Down arrowAviation Industry Doubles Projected Losses to $9 Billion

The aviation industry has projected losses of $9 billion this year due to weak demand and rising fuel costs. This latest figure is almost double the original projection of $4.7 billion, which was announced in March of this year.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reported that airline revenue is expected to drop 15 percent to $448 billion this year, even more than after the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Asian-Pacific carriers are forecast to bear the largest losses of $3.3 billion this year, while North American airlines are expected to lose $1 billion. European carries may see as much as a $1.8 billion loss.

The good news, if you can call it that, is that this is an improvement over 2008, when the global airline industry posted losses of $10.4 billion after sky-high fuel prices pummeled carriers.IATA expects passenger demand to fall by 8 percent, and cargo to drop 17 percent this year.

Airline stocks took a tumble on Monday following the trade association’s announcement.

Related links: USA Today, BBC, CNN, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Houston Chronicle, New York Times, Reuters

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