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Airlines are forced to cancel more flights

CHICAGO -- Katrina forced scores more flight cancellations involving New Orleans and other Southern cities yesterday as airlines juggled their schedules around one of the worst storms on record.

Hurricane-related disruptions also continued to have an impact far more worrisome for US carriers than added costs and lost revenue from the flight turmoil: oil prices that spiked to record highs over $70.

Consequences include potentially pushing Delta Air Lines Inc., Northwest Airlines Corp., and Independence Air operator FLYi Inc. into bankruptcy and stymieing the efforts of United Airlines parent UAL Corp. and US Airways Group Inc. to emerge from Chapter 11 successfully.

For the short term, airlines were scrambling to rearrange flights within the limitations set by Katrina's devastating path and airport closures.

The Federal Aviation Administration said two commercial airports remained closed -- in New Orleans and Gulfport, Miss. -- with storm-related delays reported at Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport.

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