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ACE Aviation Holdings, parent of Air Canada, reached contract terms with pilots to fly new Boeing aircraft, clearing the main obstacle to a $6.1 billion order.

The agreement came a day after ACE Chief Executive Robert Milton said failure to reach an agreement might scuttle the aircraft order. The pilots’ existing contract, which expires in 2009, links wages to the size, speed, weight and revenue potential of the plane they fly and needs amending, said Kent Wilson, president of the Air Canada Pilots Association.

The agreement is subject to ratification by the Air Canada Pilots Association’s membership. The airline said Boeing had extended a June 10 deadline to June 19, when a positive vote by pilots would allow the aircraft order to go forward.

ACE agreed April 25 to buy 18 777s and 14 787 jets.

Microsoft MSN to launch music service

Microsoft will begin selling a music-subscription service this year to compete with market-leading Apple Computer’s iTunes music store, CNET reported yesterday, citing people familiar with the plan.

Microsoft’s MSN unit is trying to get copyright holders to let MSN give customers a new copy of any song they’ve bought from Apple so the music can be played on devices other than Apple’s iPod, reported. Generally, music purchased from Apple can’t be easily played on other digital devices.


Seattle firm raises $5.5 million in VC

HyperQuality, which helps companies monitor customer-service calls by performing evaluations and producing daily reports, plans to announce today that it has raised $5.5 million in venture capital.

Participating in the Seattle company’s first round of capital are Miramar Venture Partners and Rustic Canyon Partners. The firm previously raised $3 million from angel investors. HyperQuality has 12 employees in Seattle and 110 in India.

Lincoln Square

The Container Store to open in Bellevue

The Container Store will open a storage- and organization-products store in Lincoln Square, a three-tower condominium, hotel and office project under construction in downtown Bellevue.

The new store, the company’s first in Washington, will occupy 27,500 square feet. Lincoln Square’s three-story shopping mall will open in November; its condominium tower is to open in April.

Compiled from Bloomberg News, Reuters and Seattle Times staff