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Economy Briefs: JetBlue passengers sue airline over pilot scare
Question of the Day
GARDEN CITY — Ten passengers filed a lawsuit Wednesday against JetBlue Airways, claiming they feared for their lives when a pilot had to be physically restrained after running through the cabin yelling about Jesus and al Qaeda during a New York-to-Las Vegas flight in March.
The lawsuit, filed in state Supreme Court in Queens, claims the airline was “grossly negligent” in allowing Capt. Clayton Osbon to fly.
A flight attendant’s ribs were bruised as passengers tried to restrain Mr. Osbon, but no one on board was seriously hurt. The March 27 flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Amarillo, Texas.
Mr. Osbon faces a hearing Friday morning in Amarillo to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial. He faces federal charges of interfering with a flight crew. If convicted, he could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison.
An airline spokesman did not immediately comment Wednesday on the lawsuit
According to the lawsuit and a federal indictment, witnesses on Flight 191 say Mr. Osbon ran through the cabin in a wild rant. The first officer locked him out of the cockpit and passengers wrestled Mr. Osbon to the floor.
Ford makes assembly plant home for Escape
LOUISVILLE — Ford has transformed a nearly 60-year-old assembly plant in Kentucky into the new home of the redesigned Escape, and it’s bolstered the workforce to make the small SUV.
The automaker invested $600 million to revamp its Louisville Assembly Plant. Improvements include new body, paint and trim assembly lines. The plant produced Ford Explorers from the early 1990s until 2010.
On Wednesday, the plant is celebrating the launch of the new Escape, which goes on sale this month.
The company says the plant’s hourly workforce will swell to about 4,200 once a third shift is added this fall. As a spinoff, Ford says its suppliers are adding more than 900 jobs in support of Escape production.
Prosecutor: Goldman board member abused position
NEW YORK — A federal prosecutor says a former Goldman Sachs board member abused his position as a corporate insider.
Closing arguments started Wednesday at the Manhattan insider trading trial of Rajat Gupta.
The 63-year-old Mr. Gupta has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege he passed secrets he learned from Goldman’s board in fall 2008 to a billionaire hedge fund founder who used the information to make millions of dollars.
The defense says his business dealings were legitimate.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Tarlowe zeroed in on a Sept. 23, 2008, phone call Mr. Gupta made to the hedge fund boss. He says Mr. Gupta delivered information that “the average ordinary investor had no way of knowing.”
The defense gave its closing argument later in the day.
Cell firms join forces to gain coverage
The Mexican subsidiary of Spanish cell carrier Telefonica SA and local carrier Iusacell are joining forces to share mobile networks in a bid to expand coverage.
The companies say the five-year agreement could benefit 27 million subscribers.
The Mexican market is currently dominated by Telcel, which is owned by telecom magnate Carlos Slim, considered the world’s richest man.
Telefonica’s Mexico brand Movistar has an estimated 22 percent market share and Iusacell has less than 5 percent of the market. Telcel controls most of the rest.
Iusacell SA said Wednesday it is still awaiting final word from regulators on whether they will allow another proposed alliance with the owners of the Televisa television network, who want to buy a 50 percent stake in the firm.
• From wire dispatches and staff reports
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