Business & Finance

Airbus Industrie put even more distance between itself and US arch-rival Boeing, with a $5.1 billion, 18-plane order from Qatar Airways and a memorandum of understanding to supply up to eight of its new A380 superjumbo jets to Korean Air. Qatar Airways, which flies only Airbus planes, also took an option for 14 more. Both were announced at the annual Paris Air Show and follow on a $12.5 billion, 41-plane order from Emirates Airways that made headlines earlier this week. The financial reporting service said Airbus already had orders for 197 planes before sealing the Qatar deal, to "about 40" for Boeing. But Boeing chief executive Phil Condit insisted in an interview with the Financial Times: "We are not on a path to get out of [building] commercial airplanes. We are going to be in commercial aviation for a long, long time."

Details emerging from the tentative contract agreement between General Electric and its largest union indicate that the company failed in its strategy to compel employees to assume a higher percentage of their own health insurance costs, the Financial Times reported. It said the International Union of Electrical Workers-Communications Workers of America (IUE-CWA) is recommending that its members ratify the new four-year deal agreed to late last Sunday, which calls for GE to continue paying 82 percent of such costs. In an effort watched closely by other major employers, such as the Big Three automakers and the airlines, GE had sought to shift 30 percent of that burden to workers, prompting a two-day walkout by angry union members in January. The tentative pact also calls for GE to increase wages by 3 percent this year, followed by 2.5 percent, 2.5 percent, and 3 percent again in succeeding years.

Cablevision Systems Corp. notified regulators that an internal review had found "inappropriate" accounting practices over a three-year period ending in 2002 and said it fired a division president and 13 other people because of the situation. But the New York-area service provider said the amounts involved weren't large enough to require a restatement of earnings. The company operates the American Movie Classics channel and owns Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, and the New York Knicks basketball team.

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