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United Airlines fined $1 million for stranded planes

CHICAGO – United Airlines will pay more than $1 million in fines for stranding passengers on 13 planes for more than three hours on the tarmac during a stormy day last year at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, federal officials announced Friday.

The $1.1 million fine is the largest levied against an airline since 2010, when new rules took effect that bar airlines from stranding passengers on the tarmac for longer than three hours.

The delays involved 13 United and United Express planes on July 13, 2012, when severe thunderstorms and lightning had caused several ramp closures and disrupted the movement of aircraft at O’Hare, the nation’s second-largest airport. Toilets weren’t working on two of those planes.

UPS’ net income edges expectations

ATLANTA – A pickup in deliveries is helping UPS more than double its profit from a year ago, when Big Brown took a hit from pension restructuring costs.

United Parcel Service Co. said Friday that net income in the third quarter soared to $1.10 billion, or $1.16 per share.

That’s a penny better than analysts were expecting, and it’s up from $469 million, or 48 cents per share, a year ago.

UPS said revenue is up 3.4 percent. Spending on compensation and benefits is down 8.1 percent because a year ago UPS took a pension-restructuring charge of $896 million.

The company will be hiring 55,000 U.S. seasonal workers to help with an increase in volume over the holidays.

Rise in inventories best in seven months

WASHINGTON – U.S. wholesalers boosted their stockpiles in August by the most in seven months, a positive sign that many companies expected demand to rise.

The Commerce Department says wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent in August, the biggest gain since January. Sales also rose, climbing 0.6 percent, the fourth gain in five months.

The restocking was driven partly by recoveries in housing and autos. Auto inventories jumped 2.3 percent, the biggest gain in four months, and furniture stockpiles rose 1.1 percent for the second straight month. Stockpiles of pharmaceuticals, oil and gas, and clothing also increased.

Rising inventories point to stronger growth because it means factories have produced more goods.

Alaska Air reports net income record

SEATTLE – Alaska Air Group reported net income of $289 million for the third quarter, and said that even after excluding a special one-time accounting change, its adjusted third-quarter net income of $157 million represents a company record.

The Seattle-based parent of Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air said its net income under generally accepted accounting principles was $4.08 a share, compared with $2.27 per share in 2012. With the accounting change excluded, its profit was $2.21 a share, Alaska said.

U.S. banking oversight touted for euro union

FRANKFURT, Germany – A top European Central Bank official said the euro currency union needs U.S.-style centralized oversight so individual countries don’t have to deal with busted banks alone.

Joerg Asmussen said Friday in a speech in Milan, Italy, that “during the crisis in the U.S., it was federal institutions that stepped into the breach.”

Europe has started building a centralized banking oversight. The ECB is checking banks for hidden losses before it starts supervising major eurozone banks late next year.


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