Comair Announces More Job Cuts

Comair, a regional airline subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, said it will eliminate up to 650 jobs as it cuts its workforce by as much as 14 percent and attempts to save as much as $70 million a year.

Comair said it will also cut pay for management and nonunion workers and reduce its fleet as parent Delta cuts costs during its bankruptcy reorganization.

The latest job-cut announcement is in addition to 350 job cuts systemwide announced last month and brings the combined total to up to 1,000 jobs.

Mesaba Files for Protection

Regional carrier Mesaba Airlines filed for bankruptcy protection, citing "cash shortages and significant fleet changes and uncertainties imposed on it by Northwest Airlines," which is Mesaba's only customer. Northwest entered bankruptcy court on Sept. 14 and is cutting its domestic schedule to avoid unprofitable routes. Mesaba was also hurt when Northwest withheld $30 million from it just before Northwest entered Chapter 11 protection.

Under the Northwest Airlink name, Mesaba flies passengers around the upper Midwest, where it is often the only carrier. Mesaba said it expects to keep flying while in bankruptcy proceedings.

Delta Sues City of Los Angeles

Delta Air Lines, which filed for bankruptcy protection last month, sued the City of Los Angeles seeking court permission to stop making payments on bonds used to finance its facilities at Los Angeles International Airport.

The carrier asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York to classify the payments as unsecured debt. Bankruptcy law would then prohibit the airline from paying on the bonds while it reorganizes, according to the suit.

Delta is asking the court for an order blocking the airport from evicting it. Eviction would leave the airline without a presence in the nation's fifth-busiest airport, from which Delta has 43 daily departures, a spokesman said.


Storm-Related Jobless Claims Up

The number of people who lost their jobs because of hurricanes Katrina and Rita rose to 438,000 last week. The Labor Department reported that 75,000 hurricane-related claims were filed last week out of a nationwide total of 389,000 new claims for unemployment benefits.

Government analysts said that Katrina, which hit near New Orleans on Aug. 29, was still responsible for more layoffs than Rita, which came ashore near the Texas-Louisiana border on Sept. 24.

Analysts said that hurricane-related claims have probably peaked but that they will likely remain a significant portion of total jobless claims for several more weeks.


Mortgage Rates Up Again

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose for a fifth consecutive week, topping 6 percent for the first time since March as financial markets continued to reflect inflation concerns.

Freddie Mac reported that the nationwide average for 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages rose to 6.03 percent. Rates on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages, a popular choice for refinancing home mortgages, averaged 5.62 percent this week, up from 5.54 percent last week.

One-year, adjustable-rate mortgages rose to 4.85 percent, the highest level in more than three years and up from 4.77 percent last week.


Toyota to Fix Stalling in Priuses

Toyota will conduct a repair campaign for 75,000 Prius hybrid sedans to prevent stalling after at least 13 complaints of power loss at highway speeds.

The action covers 2004 and some 2005 Prius models with an electronic control module that can fail, disrupting the electric motor and causing the car to slow, Toyota said. U.S. safety officials had received complaints of electrical failures at up to 60 mph. Toyota will send notices later this month.

Ford Names COO for Americas

Ford Motor named Anne Stevens as its first female executive vice president and made her chief operating officer for the Americas.

She will supervise manufacturing and product development in North America, the company's largest automotive operation, and report to Executive Vice President Mark Fields, who took over as Americas chief on Oct. 1. Stevens currently is Ford's group vice president for Canada, Mexico and South America.

Tribune, publisher of the Los Angeles Times and Newsday in New York, said profit fell 80 percent after it set aside $150 million to pay a tax claim. Third-quarter profit fell to $24 million. Sales fell 0.8 percent, to $1.4 billion.

Compiled from staff and news service reports.

Travelers pass the departure board near the Delta-Comair counter at Cincinnati's airport. Delta subsidiary Comair said it would cut up to 650 jobs.