Business & Finance

Lion Air, Indonesia's top budget carrier, said Thursday it plans to buy 60 Boeing 737 aircraft at a cost of $3.9 billion as part of a bold plan to expand across Asia. The deal was scheduled to be signed later in the day. With the purchase, Lion is hoping to grab a larger share of the mostly untapped domestic market and become a leading regional player alongside Malaysia's AirAsia, a spokesman said. Routes serving Australia, China, Japan, and Hong Kong are expected to open this year and passenger traffic to grow by as much as 30 percent. Elsewhere, a company associated with Singapore Airlines Ltd. has finalized a $1.1 billion order for 20 Boeing 737 planes with an option to buy 20 more, Boeing said Thursday. The leasing company is jointly owned by Singapore Airlines Ltd., Germany's WestLB Bank, Temasek Holdings and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp.

Northwest Airlines Corp. considers its seven months of contract talks with mechanics at an impasse and wants a federal mediator to release the company from further negotiations, the carrier said Wednesday. The mechanics have until June 8 to respond to Northwest's request to release them from mediation. Arbitration would be next, but either side can refuse. That would prompt a 30-day cooling-off period. After that, the mechanics of the fourth-largest US airline could strike. Northwest, which is based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul suburbs, is seeking $1.1 billion in annual labor savings.

The New York Times Co. will cut about 120 jobs, with roughly another 60 trimmed at a pair of Massachusetts newspapers it owns, The Boston Globe and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. A Times spokesman said the reductions are part of an ongoing effort to streamline operations and lower costs and reflect difficulties in generating advertising revenue over the past couple of years.

United Technologies Corp., a manufacturer of building

systems and aerospace products based in Hartford, Conn., has decided to outsource its payroll processing and other financial services to Affiliated Computer Services of Dallas, UTC announced Wednesday. The move, which will send work to ACS offices in Arizona and Jamaica, will affect 190 United Technologies employees, who may be either laid off or transferred.

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