The Biz Buzz

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Archives: Feb. 2011

Feb.
28th

New website for Tacoma’s Downtown Merchants Group, which has the downloadable coupon book

Whitney Rhodes, president of the Downtown Merchants Group, was talking paid parking with me when she mentioned that the new website for the DMG has gone live.

Designed by downtown firm Hemisphere Design and Marketing, the website’s a new home for the DMG that has handy tabs that list member businesses and other partners. Meeting agendas also are available on the homepage.

Hemisphere was behind the design of another DMG-led effort, the Tacoma+ coupon book, which I wrote about last fall. Many of you asked where it could be downloaded, and here’s your answer: at the DMG’s

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Feb.
28th

Puget Sound Energy names Kimberly Harris as new CEO; utility president has served since 1999

Beginning March 1, Kimberly Harris will become chief executive officer of Puget Sound Energy.

Currently president of the Bellevue-based utility, Harris, 46, was named to the position by the board of directors, according to a release today. She has been with PSE since 1999, and succeeds Steve Reynolds, who retired after heading the utility since 2002.

As CEO, Harris joins local board members Bill Ayer, chairman, who is also chairman, president and chief executive officer of Alaska Air Group; and Herb Simon, University of Washington regent and member of Tacoma investment firm Johnson Simon LLC.

“My focus will

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Feb.
28th

FDIC stats show 2009 was a good year not to be a bank; some numbers improving

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is out with its December numbers for Washington – and they provide a good look at how bad things were for the banking industry in the state.

• The total number of state-chartered banks in operation fell to 64 at the end of December from 80 at the end of 2009.
• The number of people employed at state-chartered banks fell from 12,632 to 11,134.
• Net income for the year at state-chartered banks actually improved, from a loss of $2.06 billion in 2009 to a loss of $425 million in 2010.

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Feb.
28th

Sea-Tac, Portland airports win on-time awards

Two major Northwest airports have won awards for the punctuality of their departures last year.

FlightStats.com, a website that tracks flight arrivals and departures worldwide named Sea-Tac the winner among major international airports and Portland the winner among North American airports for the timeliness of their departures last year.

Sea-Tac on-time departures were 85.21 percent. That compares with an average of 71.66 percent among airports in the same size and flight diversity category.

Portland accumulated a record of 86.02 percent in its category. The average for airports in that category 75.29 percent, said FlightStats.

“It takes a deep

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Feb.
28th

Feds, railroad and state reach agreement on improvements to rail line from Blaine to Portland

The state, the BNSF Railroad and the Federal Rail Administration have signed an agreement that will allow work to begin on $590 million worth of federally-funded improvements to the main north-south rail corridor between Blaine and Portland.

Sen. Patty Murray said the agreement will not only add capacity for passenger and freight trains in the Western Washington rail corridor, it will cut transit time between Seattle and Portland by rail.

“At a time when good-paying construction jobs are not easy to find, this is welcome news for our state,” said Murray. “This agreement means that we can now get moving

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Feb.
28th

Boeing delivers 300th 737-800 to Ireland’s Ryanair

Boeing has delivered the 300th version of its popular 737-800 aircraft to Europe’s largest discount air carrier, Ryanair.

Ryanair, which has made its fortune charging rock-bottom fares by flying to alternate airports and by charging ala carte for nearly every piece of the trip, flies an all-737 fleet.

The Irish airline and Boeing have been unable to reach agreement on further large 737 orders. Ryanair Chief Executive Michael O’Leary signed a post-911 contract with Boeing at bargain rates for the 737s he’s been receiving, and he wants similar bargain prices for follow-on orders.

Boeing has declined to drop its prices

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Feb.
28th

Brazilian airline orders two Boeing jets

Brazil’s largest airline, TAM, announced orders today for two additional Boeing 777-300ER long-range jetliners.

The order is worth $568 million at list prices. Airlines commonly pay less. The order also includes purchases rights for two additional 777-300ERs.

TAM now has a total of 12 777s on order from Boeing.

The planes will be built in Boeing’s Everett wide-bodied aircraft plant.

The Brazilian airline also announced a big order with Boeing rival Airbus. The airline ordered 32 single-aisle Airbus A320 aircraft. Twenty-two of those planes will be Airbus’ re-engined A320NEO aircraft. Those aircraft will be more fuel-efficient than the current A320.

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Feb.
25th

Dreamliners will move to San Antonio for finishing touches

With Everett’s Paine Field now overflowing with Boeing 787 Dreamliners in various stages of completion, Boeing will begin flying some of them to San Antonio next month for final modification before delivery.

Those moves are always planned as part of Boeing’s scheme to move Dreamliners out the door to airlines. But the quantity of planes has increased from the originally planned six to more than 30, said John Ostrower on his Flightblogger blog.

Boeing has parked the mostly complete planes on ramps and taxiways around the periphery of Paine Field, where the planes are built, but the field is reaching

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