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Southwest to eliminate 200 flights in 2009

Southwest Airlines Co. will eliminate nearly 200 flights early next year as it struggles with high fuel costs and a weakening economy. The move raised doubts about the company's publicly stated goal of growing modestly in 2009 despite the airline industry's troubles. Southwest will cut 196 flights while adding only six new ones in its schedule that takes effect Jan. 11. That is nearly 6 percent of the airline's daily schedule. The airline, which is the largest carrier at Baltimore-Washington International Thurfgood Marshall Airport, will eliminate 14 of its 162 flights there. The flights are to cities that include Chicago, San Diego, Detroit and West Palm Beach, Fla. The airline will add a flight to Orlando, Fla., from BWI. Southwest spokesman Chris Mainz said that some of the eliminated flights, which span Southwest's nationwide network, could be restored later in 2009. Late winter is typically a slow travel period.

Staff and wire reports

Vertis receives approval of bankruptcy plan

Baltimore's Vertis Communications said yesterday that it received approval of its prepackaged bankruptcy plan, allowing the advertising and marketing company to merge with a competitor. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court also approved the reorganization plan for American Color Graphics of Brentwood, Tenn. The two companies expect to close the merger and come out of prepackaged bankruptcy in mid-September. Under the plan, which was submitted to the court with creditor support, the firms will reduce their combined debt by nearly $1 billion.

Hanah Cho

Fed auctions $75 billion to ease credit stresses

WASHINGTON : The Federal Reserve has auctioned another $75 billion in loans to help squeezed banks overcome their credit problems. The central bank released yesterday the results of its most recent auction. It's part of a continuing program started in December that seeks to ease financial turmoil and credit stresses. Those problems - along with the housing slump - have badly bruised the economy. In the latest auction, commercial banks paid an interest rate of 2.38 percent for the 28-day loans. There were 66 bidders. The Fed received bids for $84.17 billion worth of the loans.

Associated Press

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