Shares of airlines were in the red Tuesday afternoon, losing morning gains, after Cuba suspended flights to and from Mexico, becoming the first country to put a ban on travel in light of the swine flu outbreak.

UAL ( UAUA), parent of United Airlines, fell 7% to $5.11, Continental Airlines ( CAL) sank 4% to $10.69 and JetBlue Airways ( JBLU) was down slightly, 1% to $4.95.

A national flight attendants union also said it wants the Federal Aviation Administration to require U.S. airlines to have passenger-screening standards because of the swine flu scare, which could be a costly request for airlines.

Earlier in the day investors pushed worries aside when reports came back of normal airline operations and relatively few re-bookings. This quelled fears and sent The AMEX Airline Index up 2.1%. The Conference Board also said consumer confidence jumped to its highest level this year. The Consumer Confidence Index rose 12 points to 39.2, the highest reading since November. In March the Index was at 26.9.

Cruise lines, though, did hold on to earlier boosts. Shares of Royal Caribbean ( RCL) were up 3% to$12.51, while rival Carnival ( CCL) increased 4% to $25.67 in afternoon trading.
Copyright 2009 TheStreet.com Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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