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Logistics subsidiaries sued for misclassifying drivers

Three trucking company subsidiaries of XPO Logistics, Inc. were sued in California on Monday for allegedly misclassifying their drivers as independent contractors. The class-action lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, argues that drivers for XPO subsidiaries Pacer Cartage Inc., Harbor Rail Transport and PDS Transportation Inc. failed to pay minimum wage, provide meal breaks and rest breaks and reimburse business expenses, among other allegations. In an emailed statement, XPO Chief Operating Officer Troy Cooper said, "We believe this case is without merit and plan to litigate it vigorously. We are in constant dialogue with our independent-contractor carriers and believe the vast majority of them value the significant benefits that operating independently can bring." The trucking companies facing litigation perform what's known as drayage trucking services, hauling goods the short distance between seaports …

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Emirates upgrades DC service to A380s

Emirates, the No. 1 international carrier, will upgrade flights between Dubai and Washington to Airbus Group SE A380 superjumbos, a month after United Airlines said it would quit the route following the awarding of a government travel contract to the Gulf carrier via its ally JetBlue Airways Corp. Emirates will swap Boeing Co. 777-300ERs currently used for the daily flights to A380s starting next month in order to meet “strong customer demand” as United prepares to end its service on Jan. 25, it said in a statement Monday. Chicago-based United said in December that it would pull out after the General Services Administration in August handed the federal government’s Washington-Dubai travel contract for 2016 to US carrier JetBlue, which doesn’t operate the route but has a code-share pact with Emirates. About 15,000 …

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Delta overtakes United to become No. 2 in US after American Airlines

Delta Air Lines, Inc. passed United Continental Holdings, Inc. to become the second-largest airline in the US, topping its rival for the first time since a series of mergers transformed the industry landscape. Delta now sits behind only American Airlines Group, Inc. as the country’s biggest carrier by traffic, a common gauge of carrier size, according to the airlines. Some of Delta’s gains may be chalked up to challenges United in its merger with Continental Airlines, said Adam Hackel, an associate analyst at Sterne Agee CRT. “The reality is, Delta offers better service and a better product than United,” Hackel said. “My first thought was people probably prefer to fly Delta now.” United recorded 208.6 billion revenue passenger miles, an industry yardstick of traffic that multiplies the number of passengers by the distance …

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ANA buying 8.8 % of Vietnam Airlines

Hanoi – Japan's ANA Holdings said it plans to buy 8.8 percent of Vietnam Airlines for about $108 million, as both carriers seek to take advantage of growing travel demand in Southeast Asia. The deal is likely to be the first stake sale by a major Vietnamese firm this year, giving a much needed boost to the government's privatisation drive which has been criticised for being sluggish and lacking appeal. Vietnam Airlines, which raised $51.2 million by selling 3.47 percent of the company at its 2014 initial public offering, has been seeking to sell a 20 percent holding to strategic partners. As part of the deal, ANA will dispatch an executive to the board of Vietnam Airlines and provide it with operational and management know-how to help support service quality, the companies said …

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Etihad enhances US operations with equipment changes in 2016

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, continues to optimize its United States network with equipment changes on two key markets in 2016. Currently the UAE’s national carrier operates leased Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft for its daily flight to and from San Francisco. These aircraft will be replaced with Etihad Airways Boeing 777-200LRs from 25 April 2016. The daily EY101 flight from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK airport and the return EY100 service will also see leased Jet Airways Boeing 777-300ER aircraft replaced by Etihad Airways Boeing 777-300ERs from June 1, 2016. The second daily Etihad Airways service to and from New York JFK, EY103 and EY102, will continue to be operated with the airline’s flagship A380 aircraft in 2016. Kevin Knight, Etihad Airways’ Chief Strategy and Planning Officer, …

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Lufthansa sees lower fuel bill boosting profit in 2016

Berlin – Lufthansa said it expected its fuel bill to be 14 percent lower in 2016 thanks to falling oil prices, which will help boost its profit next year after record earnings in 2015. Oil has dropped around 70 percent since June, 2014, touching levels not seen in over a decade this week, bringing a boon to airlines because jet fuel is one of their main costs. Lufthansa expects a fuel bill of 4.9 billion euros ($5.3 billion) in 2016 after 5.7 billion euros in 2015, it said on Friday in presentation slides. That and other efforts to reduce costs will help boost profit in 2016, from expected adjusted earnings before tax and interest of between 1.75 and 1.95 billion euros in 2015. Legacy airlines like Lufthansa are under increasing pressure from fast growing …

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Delta can keep flying out of Dallas Love field

Delta Air Lines, Inc. can keep flying out of crowded Dallas Love Field, a federal judge ruled, thwarting Southwest Airlines Co. at least temporarily in its bid to control 90 percent of the near-downtown airport. US District Judge Ed Kinkeade said in an order Friday that Delta’s use of two gates for five flights at the airport don’t unduly interfere with Southwest’s schedule. Delta, though, would be harmed if it was forced out of Love Field before a final resolution of the case. Delta argued Southwest was establishing a near monopoly when it began subleasing the two gates Delta was using last year, a move that gave the Dallas-based carrier control of 18 of 20 gates at Love. Delta is seeking to unwind the sublease or force Southwest to continue to accommodate …

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NLEX-SLEX connector road among 5 projects OK’d by NEDA

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board has approved five multibillion-peso projects, including the P23-billion road project that will connect the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx) and the South Luzon Expressway (SLEx). In a meeting on December 16, the NEDA Board chaired by President Benigno Aquino III approved the connector road project along with the following: P50.2-billion Regional Prison Facilities; P4.8-billion Manila-Quezon Avenue Bus Rapid Transit; P1.67-billion Integrated Marine Environment Monitoring System Phase 2; and the P11.43-billion Harnessing Agribusiness Opportunities through Robust and Vibrant Entrepreneurship (HARVEST). Under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, the NLEx-SLEx connector project involves construction of an eight-kilometer, four-land toll road that will link the existing NLEx-SLEx. The project was first approved by the NEDA Board in November, 2012. “The NEDA Board gave its approval to the results of …

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PPA plans to privatize 5 ports in next 5 years

The Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) will continue to pursue modernization of four key ports in Visayas and Mindanao, in addition to Davao-Sasa, with the goal of privatizing these maritime hubs. In his last Christmas message, former PPA general manager Atty. Juan Sta. Ana said the ports authority is "embarking on the further development of the Ports of Iloilo, Cagayan De Oro, General Santos, and Zamboanga to make them viable for privatization." Appointed PPA chief in 2010, Sta. Ana resigned end of last year to return to the private sector. Sta. Ana, who first announced plans to modernize and privatize five major ports, including Davao-Sasa, in 2010, expressed hopes these projects will be carried out in the next five years. He noted that Davao-Sasa port is already part of the public-private partnership program of the …

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Boeing orders fall by half in 2015 but deliveries hit record high

New York – Boeing aircraft orders fell by nearly half in 2015 even as deliveries rose to an annual record, the aerospace giant said. Boeing said that net orders for new commercial aircraft dropped to 768 last year from 1,432 in 2014, putting it behind rival Airbus, which is expected to report well over 1,000 orders for last year. But, encouraged by continued healthy passenger growth in the airline industry and sharply lower fuel prices, Boeing was able to step up production and increase commercial aircraft deliveries to 762, slightly above its own forecasts and bettering the previous record of 723 deliveries in 2014. In deliveries, Boeing was expected to best Airbus, which appeared on track to turn over about 635 aircraft to customers for the whole of 2015, up just six from …

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