Boeing to pay $100 million to crash families, communities

The grounded Boeing 737 MAX is costing airlines money. File/AP

Boeing jet to cost airline $185M 

FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines says the grounding of its Boeing 737 Max jets led to $185 million in lost income during the second quarter.

American said in a regulatory filing Wednesday that the grounding of its 24 Max jets resulted in about 7,800 canceled flights in the quarter. The plane has been grounded since March after two deadly crashes.

The world's biggest airline continues to ride a tide of strong travel demand.

American is raising its estimate for a key figure, revenue for each seat flown one mile, because planes are so full.

The airline now estimates that number will rise 3% to 4% over the same period last year, up from an earlier forecast of up 1% to 3%.

Plan for Ala. auto plant altered 

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — A joint venture between Mazda and Toyota is altering its production plans for a new factory being built in north Alabama.

Mazda Toyota Manufacturing said Wednesday it will produce an entirely new Toyota sport-utility vehicle and a new Mazda crossover vehicle at the plant near Huntsville. The company previously planned to assemble Toyota Corolla cars at the plant. Toyota already makes the Corolla at a plant in Mississippi.

A statement says the change of plans for the Alabama factory is because of a changing market and increasing demand for light trucks and SUVs. Mazda Toyota plans to release details on the new vehicles later.

The $1.6 billion plant under construction in Huntsville is expected to employ as many as 4,000 workers. Production is expected to begin in 2021.

Senate panel OKs FAA nominee

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Federal Aviation Administration won approval from a Senate committee Wednesday despite objections from Democrats who questioned the former Delta Air Lines executive's handling of a case involving a pilot who raised safety issues. The Commerce committee voted 14-12 along party lines to send Stephen Dickson's nomination to the full Senate, even though Democrats accused him of participating in retaliation against a pilot who reported safety concerns.

Rocket test-dropped from Boeing 747

LOS ANGELES — Virgin Galactic's sister company Virgin Orbit conducted a drop test of its air-launched satellite booster over California on Wednesday, a key step toward space missions.

The 70-foot LauncherOne rocket was released from a Boeing 747 flying 35,000 feet over an Edwards Air Force Base test range in the Mojave Desert.

The purpose of the test was to observe how the rocket detached from the 747's wing and its free-fall to the desert floor before the first actual orbital launch later this year.

The company tweeted that the crews of the 747 and a chase plane reported "a good, clean release ." The test did not involve the ignition of the rocket motor.

"All crews have landed safely, and we're extremely happy with how it all went," said company spokesman Kendall Russell in an email.

The Long Beach, Calif.-based company founded by Richard Branson will use the system to launch small satellites — weighing from about 660 to 1,100 pounds — into space.

China car sales extend decline

BEIJING — China's auto sales fell 7.8% in June amid a trade fight with Washington and slower economic growth, extending an unexpectedly painful downturn for automakers that are spending heavily to develop electric cars.

Drivers in the global industry's biggest market bought 1.7 million SUVs, sedans and minivans, according to an industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

Total purchases in the first six months of 2019 fell 14% from a year earlier to 10.1 million vehicles, CAAM said. That was below industry forecasts of flat to slightly lower growth this year.

Sales growth turned negative in June 2018 as jittery consumers put off big purchases amid unease about China's economic outlook and tensions with President Donald Trump over Beijing's technology ambitions. Growth in the second-largest global economy held steady in the latest quarter but that was supported by government spending and higher bank lending.

The past year is "a sobering lesson for anyone who believed that growth in autos could happen in straight lines," Bernstein analysts Robin Zhu and Luke Hong said in a report this week. "As it turned out, autos is cyclical, even in China."

Wire reports

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