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Last Updated: Thursday, 15 November 2007, 21:59 GMT
US planes to use military space
Delays at US airports have worsened this year
US military airspace will be temporarily cleared for commercial airline use to help ease delays during the holiday season travel crunch.

President George W Bush said the unusual move, along with other measures, would reduce congestion.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the defence department will open coastal airspace from Florida to Maine for five days around Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is the busiest travel period of the year in the US.

Airlines expect to fly some 27 million people over a 12-day period beginning on Friday.

"Thanksgiving is a week from today, and Christmas will quickly follow. This is really a time of joy for our families. Unfortunately, this is also a season of dread for too many Americans," President Bush said.

"Airports are very crowded, travellers are being stranded and flights are being delayed, sometimes with a full load of passengers sitting on the runway for hours," the president said at the White House.

President Bush also unveiled plans, due to take effect by mid-2008, to double the compensation passengers get when forced off overbooked flights to $800 for those stranded more than two hours for another flight.

The proposals also included requiring airlines to give the US Department of Transportation a more thorough accounting of causes of flight delays, and to develop contingency plans to help stranded passengers.

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