Plane spoken: Boeing execs talk smack about new Airbus jet

Boeing rival Airbus officially launched the A-321neo Tuesday, after landing its first purchase commitment. The buyer is Los Angeles-based Air Lease Corp.

Like an older sibling who can’t resist getting a dig in at his younger kin, Boeing Co. executives last week were quick to take potshots at an Airbus announcement unveiling the French manufacturer’s newest plane — the A-321neo.

Airbus designed the plane to fill what it claims is a market void for a long-range commercial jet that fits somewhere between the single-aisle and wide-body variations currently filling airlines’ fleets. It would compete with Boeing’s 757 — an unpopular model that ended production in 2004.

Airbus said it plans to deliver 1,000 of its planes, a goal that Boeing Commercial Airplanes marketing Vice President Randy Tinseth called “frankly a little bit laughable” during a conference call with journalists.

Further deflating the Airbus announcement, John Wojick, Boeing’s senior vice president of global sales and marketing, said the A-321neo is far from being anything new.

“It’s interesting that Airbus is talking about trying to catch up to the capability that we already offer today,” Wojick said, adding that Boeing’s 737-900ER already has more range capability. It’s a “market space that Boeing’s been offering product capability in for a long, long time,” he said.

As they say in France: Touche.

You know it’s cold when even the boats head south for the winter.

Nova Star — a ferry normally based in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada — was plying its way to the warmer waters of Charleston late last week to cut back on maintenance costs that can rise during brutal winter months in the Great White North, according to a report in the Daily News of Bangor, Maine.

“Moving Nova Star to Charleston, a much warmer climate than its current berth, will reduce costs for the remainder of the offseason, and ensure the cruise-ferry is in a ready-state if alternate work is secured,” Mark Amundsen, Nova Star Cruises’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

The cruise line had been looking for a wintertime Florida route for the Nova Star. The ferry was expected to arrive at an undisclosed berth in the Charleston area on Sunday. It will return to Nova Scotia shortly before the start of the 2015 tourist season.

The vessel’s operator has come under public scrutiny back home after burning through $21 million in government subsidies in one year. The money was supposed to last seven years.

After nearly two decades at the helm of the real estate company they formed, the five founding members of Palmetto Commercial Properties in downtown Charleston have passed the baton to new owners.

J. Edward Buxton, Joseph J. Keenan III and Richard B. Morse are the new principal owners of the East Bay Street full-service commercial real estate and property management firm. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Each of the former owners, including Carlyle Blakeney, Bill Edlund, Batson Hewitt, Jay Keenan and David Latimer, will continue with Palmetto Commercial.

Since the firm’s founding in 1996, it has completed over 1,000 sale and lease transactions with a combined value of more than $800 million, according to its website. Palmetto Commercial also has developed various types of property, including high-end boutique hotels and storage centers.

Charleston has landed on yet another “best of” list. This time it’s Forbes magazine, which puts the Holy City among the Top 25 places in the U.S. to retire. In a blurb on each city, the publication says: “Trivia: Civil War started here. Pros: Water frontage, warm climate, robust economy, good state tax environment, cost of living about national average, typical home price $228,000, low crime, high bicycling grade. Con: Low marks for volunteering.”

Forbes said it determined its rankings based on housing, living costs, taxes, weather, air quality, crime rates, doctor availability and active-lifestyle options. It also looked at economic data with an eye toward a “working” retirement.

Conde Nast Traveler has named Charleston as the No. 1 tourist destination in America for the past four years. Top rankings also have come in for friendliest, most well-mannered and others.

South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.’s owner is delivering a blow to yield-seeking investors in investment-grade, fixed-income securities. Cayce-based SCANA Corp. announced it’s redeeming $150 million in notes it issued in November 2009, 50 years ahead of schedule. The debt paid an annual interest rate of 7.7 percent, which could be hard to replace these days. The utility could not redeem the notes until after the end of this month at the earliest.