COMPANY NEWS IN BRIEF

20 September 2021 | Business

American, JetBlue partnership to raise prices

US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat who has been outspoken on antitrust issues, expressed concern to the Transportation Department on Friday that a partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways would lead to higher airfares.

The airlines' "Northeast Alliance" partnership was announced in July 2020 and approved by the Transportation Department six months later, shortly before the end of the Trump administration.

The codeshare agreement allows American and JetBlue to sell each other's flights in their New York-area and Boston networks and link frequent flyer programs, in a move aimed at giving them more muscle to compete with United Airlines and Delta Air Linesin the US Northeast.

"I write with grave concerns that the recent joint partnership between American Airlines and JetBlue Airways will lead to anticompetitive coordination at key air traffic hubs and result in the long-term inflation of airfares and related costs for airline passengers," Blumenthal said in a letter to US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Blumenthal urged a "full public interest review and investigation of the Northeast Alliance cooperative agreement," noting that President Joe Biden had signed an executive order on competition in July. -Nampa/Reuters

Airbus reaches deal with AirAsia

Airbus has agreed to cut prices or reschedule delivery for hundreds of jets ordered by Malaysia's AirAsia to salvage a contract worth billions of dollars with its largest Asian customer, industry sources said on Friday.

The restructuring deal resets relations between two of the industry's closest partners, torn apart by the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis, and lifts uncertainty over the fate of up to 400 A320-family single-aisle jets yet to be delivered.

The AirAsia deal does not involve cancelling jets on order but includes a new delivery schedule and price cuts or other improvements in terms, the sources said. AirAsia said last year it would stop taking deliveries of all Airbus jets and review remaining orders.

Industry sources said it had also stopped sending progress payments to Airbus, prompting the plane maker to suspend plans to produce jets on order pending the new restructuring deal.

The deal comes as other airlines in Asia that have ordered hundreds of jets to secure their growth are in the midst of restructuring or are expected to press for relief. -Nampa/Reuters

Amazon faces Teamsters union drive

he Teamsters Union has launched campaigns to organize employees in at least nine Canadian facilities of US e-commerce company Amazon.com, according to Reuters interviews with union officials.

The influential union took the first step earlier this week to organize employees at one of Amazon's Canadian facilities, and the interviews reveal it is widening such efforts across the country, where the e-commerce company employs about 25 000 workers and plans to add 15 000 more.

The campaigns could be seen as a bet by the Teamsters that early success unionizing employees in a more labor-friendly market such as Canada will inspire similar results south of the border, where Amazon has so far fended off unionization attempts.

In the latest challenge to Amazon's anti-unionization stance, Edmonton, Alberta's Teamsters Local Union 362 filed for a vote on union representation at a company fulfilment centre in nearby Nisku late on Monday.

Interviews with Teamsters units in other cities and provinces show that the union's efforts stretch from the Pacific coastal province of British Columbia to the Canadian economic heartland in southern Ontario. -Nampa/Reuters

Former Mylan executive pleads guilty

A former information technology executive at Mylan pleaded guilty on Friday to insider trading for using tips from the drugmaker's chief information officer to trade in its stock, generating US$4.27 million of illegal profit, authorities said.

Dayakar Mallu, 51, admitted to conspiring to commit securities fraud, and to an unrelated charge of helping prepare a false tax return, before US District Judge W. Scott Hardy in Pittsburgh.

Mylan is now known as Viatris Inc after merging last November with Pfizer Inc's Upjohn off-patent drug business, which Pfizer spun off. The combined company's headquarters remain in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, a Pittsburgh suburb.

Authorities said that between October 2017 and July 2019, Mallu traded Mylan stock based on material non-public information about the company's results, US Food and Drug Administration drug approvals, and the Upjohn merger.

Mallu, now a resident of Orlando, Florida, was previously vice president of global operations information technology at Mylan, and had been a friend and colleague of the chief information officer, court records show. -Nampa/Reuters

GM to adjust supply chains

General Motors Co Chief Executive Mary Barra said Friday the largest US automaker plans to make changes in its supply chain as it works to address the continuing semiconductor chip crisis that has forced significant production cuts.

"We're going to make some pretty substantial shifts in our supply chain," Barra said in an online interview. A GM spokesman declined to comment further on how the company might shift its supply chain.

Next week, the White House and the US Commerce Department plan a meeting on the chip crisis, which has caused production cuts by automakers around the world.

On Thursday, GM said it was cutting production at six North American assembly plants due to the shortage. -Nampa/Reuters

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