After all the bluster of putative order announcements at the Paris Air Show last month, the sales battle between Boeing and Airbus became a little clearer yesterday.

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After all the bluster of putative order announcements at the Paris Air Show last month, the sales battle between Boeing and Airbus became a little clearer yesterday.




At the midpoint of 2005, the net firm-order tally stands at Boeing 417 versus Airbus 276.




The European jet maker disclosed its order and delivery data yesterday. Boeing had updated its tally Tuesday.




Within the past week, Boeing has firmed up orders for 10 787s from Ethiopian Airlines and five 787s from Continental, bringing the total firm orders for the new jet to 143 since it was launched in April 2004. But the vast majority of this year’s Boeing orders, 321 of them, are for Renton-built 737 narrowbodies.




Airbus’ current production rates are still 22 percent higher than Boeing’s. In the first six months of the year, Airbus delivered 189 planes to Boeing’s 155.




Boeing expects to deliver 320 commercial jets by year’s end. Airbus is planning to deliver 360.




Boeing




CEO visits plants




in Renton, Everett




Less than a week after his appointment as Boeing’s new chief executive, Jim McNerney visited the Boeing assembly plants in Everett and Renton on Wednesday on a pep tour for employees.




About 2,000 workers in Everett attended a brief speech and Q&A session with McNerney and Alan Mulally, chief executive of the commercial-airplanes division.




In Renton, McNerney praised the improvements embodied in the moving production line there.




According to a report of the visit on a Boeing Web site, McNerney talked about the challenge ahead in successfully ramping up production to match growing sales success.




“We are going to convert commercial success to business success like it’s never been done before,” the Web site quoted McNerney as saying.



Sonus Pharmaceuticals



Agreement reached




on protocol for test




Sonus Pharmaceuticals said yesterday it has reached a written agreement with the Food and Drug Administration on proper protocol for a final-stage clinical trial against breast cancer.




The upcoming Phase III study will compare Sonus’ drug, a reformulated version of paclitaxel designed to have milder side effects, versus conventional paclitaxel, a common chemotherapy drug.




The Bothell company said about 800 patients will be enrolled. It said it expects the study to get under way in three to six months.




Compiled from Seattle Times staff




Nation/World



Pacific Northwest


drugstore.com



2 vice presidents




“terminated”




Bellevue online retailer drugstore.com notified regulators yesterday that it “terminated” the employment of two executives who joined the company through an acquisition in 2003.




Ian and Louise Mummery sold Vision Direct, a company they co-founded, to drugstore.com for $55.8 million in cash and stock. They became vice presidents at drugstore.com until their termination July 1, when they each received an $83,000 severance payment.




“It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement for both parties,” company spokesman Greg French said.




“I think it makes sense; the day-to-day operations have been managed here by essentially an individual and key members of the marketing team for quite some time, and they’ve needed to call the Mummeries less and less often with questions, and the Mummeries have been less and less involved with long-term strategic planning.”




The couple hold more than 3 million shares of drugstore.com they acquired in the merger.




Frontier Bank




Flood-insurance case




has $12,500 penalty




Frontier Bank in Everett has agreed to pay $12,500 as a civil penalty in connection with alleged violations of the Federal Reserve Board’s regulations implementing the National Flood Insurance Act. Frontier did not admit to the allegations.




The law says banks must require flood insurance for loans on real estate that is in a flood plain. Lyle Ryan, Frontier’s president and chief operating officer, would not provide details of the alleged violations.




It is the first time Frontier has paid such a penalty, he said. The money goes to the National Flood Mitigation Fund, which pays for projects that reduce the risk of flood damage.




Nation / World



International Speedway



$26.5 million profit




reported for quarter




International Speedway, the largest U.S. automobile racetrack operator, said second-quarter profit quadrupled, after additional races were held in the period and the company acquired a track in Martinsville, Va.




Profit rose to $26.5 million, or 50 cents a share, in the period ended May 31, from $6.1 million, or 11 cents, a year earlier. Sales rose 20 percent to $157.4 million.




International Speedway, which owns and operates 11 racetracks, last month announced the selection of a proposed site just south of Bremerton in Kitsap County for a potential 80,000-seat racing venue. The company secured an option for 950 acres and is conducting feasibility studies on the track that would be built with the help of public money.




Parmesan




Bid to change




cheese standard fails




A U.S.-led bid to make an international standard for Parmesan cheese that could be produced anywhere failed yesterday.




The issue was shelved at a meeting of the Codex Alimentarius, a U.N. commission that sets food safety and quality standards, after it became clear there wasn’t enough agreement to proceed, said John Riddle, a spokesman at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.




The issue has been polarized between the European Union (EU) and its supporters and countries that say they also want to make the cheese. EU regulations stipulate that only cheese produced in the region around the Italian city of Parma can be identified as Parmigiano-Reggiano. The 25-nation bloc claims “Parmesan” is the English translation of the name, and therefore should be protected as well.




The EU’s opponents, led by the United States, say Parmesan has become a generic name for a hard cheese that can be grated, and so it can be made anywhere.




Compiled from Seattle Times business staff, Bloomberg News and The Associated Press