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Airline stocks get small boost from furlough vote

NEW YORK (AP) -- Airline shares rose slightly on Friday after Congress passed a bill that would let the Federal Aviation Administration keep all of its air traffic controllers working.

Temporary furloughs of controllers have caused flight delays around the country this week. United Airlines, the world's biggest airline, has estimated that delays and cancellations caused by the furloughs are affecting some 20,000 of its travelers each day.

The furloughs that began Sunday were prompted by automatic government spending cuts that started taking effect last month.

Airlines have pressed hard for a solution to the air traffic controller furloughs, and had accused the FAA of purposely including air traffic control in its cuts rather than finding the savings elsewhere.

The FAA had said the law that cut its spending required the across-the-board approach. The bill passed by the House on Friday would give the FAA the flexibility to take the money from other accounts.

The widespread federal spending cuts have also reduced travel spending by government workers.

Shares of United Continental Holdings Inc. rose 28 cents to $31.17. Delta Air Lines Inc. was up 29 cents to $16.58. And US Airways Group Inc. rose 27 cents to $16.49.

Among the biggest U.S. airlines, only Southwest Airlines Co. was down, losing 4 cents to $13.38 in afternoon trading.

JetBlue Airways Corp. rose 2 cents to $6.87. Discounter Spirit Airlines Inc. fell 5 cents to $25.98.