The Biz Buzz

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Archives: Aug. 2010

Aug.
31st

Fewer banks in the state, fewer employees, fewer assets – but the corner looks to have been turned

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. released its Quarterly Banking Profiles on Tuesday, and the numbers confirm the news of the last several months.

The banking industry in Washington has changed.

Some highlights:

• As of June 30, there were 85 insured banks in Washington. A year before, there were 96.
• At the end of June, banks employed 13,733 people in Washington. A year before, there were 15,403 employees. Two years before, there were 16,200.
• Non-performing loans made up 5.96 percent of all assets of Washington banks at the end of June. Two years before, bad loans

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Aug.
31st

Sea-Tac is mid-pack in new airport survey

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport was a mid-pack finisher in a new survey released this week by Travel and Leisure magazine.

That survey of frequent fliers ranked Sea-Tac ninth for food and beverages and 14th for entertainment.

At the top of the list were Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport and Orlando International Airport.

New York’s three airport, JFK, LaGuardia and Newar Liberty earned that city the basement ranking in the survey. Ranking just above the Big Apple was Los Angeles and then St. Louis which lost much of its traffic when American Airlines downgraded it from a hub to an emphasis city.

Minneapolis-St.

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Aug.
31st

Sea-Tac traffic begins gradual upturn

Both passenger and cargo traffic at Sea-Tac Airport began a gradual increase last month according to new figures from the airport.

Nearly 23,000 more passengers used the airport in July this year than in July of 2009. That’s a .7 percent increase.

On the cargo side, freight volumes were up 6.67 percent in July over the same month last year, according to airport figures.

For the year, passenger numbers still are slightly down. Through July, 17,939,368 passengers passed through Sea-Tac compared with 18,024, 657 for the first seven months of 2009.

Cargo was up for the year with a 4.3

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Aug.
31st

Dreamliner is heading to Iceland today for crosswind tests

The second aircraft in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner test fleet is headed overseas later today to Keflavik, Iceland for crosswind testing.

The airport in that island nation is known for its strong winds. It is equipped with perpendicular runways, so the test aircraft can land with a crosswind blowing no matter what direction the wind is blowing.

The Icelandic excursion is the second foreign visit for a Dreamliner and the first with serious test purpose. A 787 earlier this summer visited the Farnborough Air Show in England, but the purpose of that visit was more public and customer relations than flight

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Aug.
31st

Thoughts from the spouse of a Russell Investments associate

Yesterday I asked Russell Investments employees to contact me with their thoughts about the move to Seattle in light of comments from a Russell spokeswoman disputing the idea that most employees are unhappy about it and outlining steps the company is taking to ease the transition.

A spouse of a Russell employee e-mailed me almost immediately with thoughts.

“(T)his move to Seattle is very hard for us. … It is very nice that Russell is off setting some of the cost for commuting however I would like to know if the CEO has done the commute from Tacoma

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Aug.
30th

Airbus’s Dreamliner rival already suffering production glitches

Boeing rival Airbus is already trimming its production rates of its new A350XWB jetliner two years before its first flight, a French publication is reporting.

The French newspaper Les Echos said the European aircraft producer is now telling airlines it expects to produce only 10 A350-XWBs in 2013 compared with the 18 it had previously promised.

In 2014, production is expected to drop from the previously predicted 51 to 40, said the paper.

Boeing, itself is more than 2 1/2 years behind in delivering its first composite-bodied jetliner, the 787 Dreamliner. Just last week, the company slide the first commercial

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Aug.
30th

Costco opening new stores in major malls

Costco, whose low-cost business plan until now has called for locations in giant tilt-up concrete buildings in industrial parks is moving uptown with some of its new stores.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jeff Brotman, chairman of the Issaquah-based warehouse retailer, said the company is speeding up plans to fill old department store locations in major malls.

While the company still prefers the lower costs of its traditional locations, the company is opening some new stores in major urban areas in large malls. Costco announced three new mall locations last week.

Those former department store

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Aug.
30th

New date for Ruston Tunnel reopening

If you’re getting used to the detour around the Ruston Tunnel, you’ll now have a couple more weeks to use it.

A new release from the folks at Point Ruston says the new reopening date for the tunnel now is Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. It had been scheduled for reopening this Friday.

Point Ruston, the billion-dollar housing and retail development on the site of the old Asarco copper smelter near Point Defiance Park, is building a new boulevard through the old smelter site to replace the historic but deteriorating Ruston Tunnel. The closure of the tunnel is to allow

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