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News Roundup: RIP Yahoo! Travel, Lasers Annoy Pilots and More

With emergency border controls in the EU, the dissolution of Yahoo! Travel, and the potential for air traffic control to be privatized, some big changes are coming our way this week in travel news.

Turkey’s president says Ankara blast linked to Syrian Kurds

The bombing of a military convoy in Ankara, Turkey that killed 28 and injured 61 has been purportedly linked to Syrian Kurds, according to Turkey’s president. BBC News reports that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says there is evidence to link the Kurdish YPG militia, based in Syria, to the blast.

Erdoğan believes the YPG militia were supported by the Kurdistan Workers Party, an outlawed organization that has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy and self-rule since 1984. Both groups deny any involvement.

EU preparing to suspend passport-free travel

Emergency provisions in the wake of the migrant crisis and recent terrorist attacks are set to allow EU nations to suspend their policy of passport-free travel. Travel and Leisure reports that countries that have already implemented emergency border controls—Germany, France, Denmark and Norway—will be able to continue without violating the terms of the Schengen Border Code. While this doesn’t mean the end of passport-free travel, the practice could be suspended for two years or more.

Laser turns around Virgin Atlantic flight

NBC reports that a Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York City turned around and returned to Heathrow after the plane was hit by a laser. The first officer was reported as feeling unwell following the incident, though the airline described the turnaround as a cautionary measure. NBC says reported laser aircraft strikes are at a record high. The light is diffused by the plane’s windshield; a direct hit has the capacity to temporarily blind and disorient pilots and permanently damage their corneas.

Privatized future for U.S. Air Traffic Control?

Skift reports that the FAA is reviewing a House Republican proposal to privatize air-traffic control in the United States. If passed, this proposal would strip the FAA of control of its air-traffic function and turn it over to a nonprofit corporation for the next six years. This also means Congress would no longer have oversight of the agency.

The FAA’s funding expires on March 31, 2016, so lawmakers may have to pass a temporary extension of funding to allow time for the organization to make a decision. The Obama administration has yet to reach a decision on the plan.

Yahoo! Travel axed as part of larger company restructuring

Yahoo! announced this week that it will be shelving its Yahoo! Travel product as part of a series of job-cuts and company-wide restructuring. Skift reports that existing travel content will remain live, but the site itself will close down. Yahoo! will also be closing its parenting, health, food and tech online magazines.

This change comes just two years after Yahoo! radically transformed its editorial sector into topic-based magazines. Yahoo! Travel recently won the North American Travel Journalists Association award for best online travel magazine.





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