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Business briefs

For Tuesday, March 8, 2011

By Star-Advertiser Staff and News Services

POSTED:


Old GM to pay $51M

DETROIT » The U.S. Attorney's Office and the Environmental Protection Agency have reached a $51 million deal to settle a group of environmental claims against the old General Motors Corp. The deal, which covers 34 sites in 11 states, is the eighth settlement with old GM for pollution claims worth more than $800 million. Remaining claims are capped at $250 million, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

Horizon, Pasha raise fuel fees to 35%

Horizon Lines Inc. and Pasha Hawaii Transport Lines are increasing their fuel surcharges 8.5 percentage points to 35 percent for service between Hawaii and the mainland to match the recent increase by larger rival Matson Navigation Co.

The new fuel fees are effective March 27.

Horizon also raised its fuel surcharge 8.5 percentage points — to 36.5 percent from 28 percent — for trade between the mainland and Guam/Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Hawaiian leads in punctuality again

Hawaiian Airlines topped the nation's carriers for on-time performance in January with 91.2 percent of its flights arriving on time. That exceeded the industry average by 14.9 percentage points, according to a U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report yesterday.

Hawaiian also had the fewest canceled flights — with just two out of 5,549 — and was third in fewest consumer complaints and fourth for mishandled bags with 2.99 for every 1,000 passengers.

Mesa Air Group Inc., which operates interisland carrier go! Mokulele, ranked fourth for on-time performance at 81.6 percent. Separately, the airline said its passenger traffic rose 6.2 percent in February to 665,553 from 626,590 while its load factor, or percentage of seats filled, increased 2.7 percentage points to 85.0 percent from 82.3 percent.

Revenue passenger miles, or one paying passenger transported one mile, jumped 26.6 percent to 738.5 million from 583.4 million while available seat miles, or one seat transported one mile, gained 22.5 percent to 868.4 million from 708.9 million.

Money-losing United routes to be cut

CHICAGO » United Continental Holdings Inc. is scrapping plans to add flights this year and says it will drop unprofitable routes because of rising fuel prices.

The announcement from the world's largest airline company yesterday is the latest example of airlines shifting plans because of the run-up in oil prices. Southwest Airlines matched an industrywide fare hike, and the smaller Frontier Airlines said it would reduce growth plans.

United Continental now plans to do about the same amount of flying this year as it did last year. Domestic flying is expected to fall as much as 2.5 percent, with international flying up as much as 3.5 percent. The company didn't respond to a query on whether there would be any effect on Hawaii flights. United also said it will remove less fuel-efficient planes from its fleet, although it did not say which ones. It also said it plans other cost cuts.

United Continental spokeswoman Julie King said the company is still finalizing details but that the merged airlines will continue to serve all the communities they currently serve across the U.S.

"The vast majority of the capacity reduction will be accomplished by reducing the total number of fights between any two cities," she said.

King said the capacity reductions will start in May and be fully ramped up by September.

Seminar to cover homeowner scams

A seminar to help homeowners avoid scams will be held from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Ewa Beach Elementary School, 91-740 Papipi Road.

The Loan Modification Scam Alert event will educate homeowners about scams, help them avoid getting entangled in one and encourage them to report scammers to authorities.

Attendees also will get tips on options to avoid foreclosure and information about free and legitimate counseling resources, as well as loan modifications. Three nonprofit organizations — Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Hawaii, Hawaii HomeOwnership Center and Legal Aid Society of Hawaii — are coordinating the event.

On the Move

Aston Hotels and Resorts has promoted Keiko Recto to guest services supervisor from guest service agent and Japanese language specialist for Aston Pacific Monarch. She will be responsible for improving guest services by extending guest access to the front desk primarily on weekday evenings and weekends.

***

Office of Hawaiian Affairs has awarded Zion Ipuka, a Corvette Center Ministries program, a $25,000 grant. The funds will be used toward its transitional programs for the homeless on the Leeward side, focusing on native Hawaiians.

***

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network has named Bernadette H. Sakoda as state lead ambassador for Hawaii. Sakoda is executive vice president of Kauai Island Finance.

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American Savings Bank presented a check for $10,000 to Waiakea High School as part of its Bank for Education program, which was created to help Hawaii's communities raise funds for their schools.






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