Pacific Northwest Jet Airways, India's biggest domestic airline, will acquire 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, estimated at up to $695 million...

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Jet Airways, India’s biggest domestic airline, will acquire 10 Boeing 737-800 aircraft, estimated at up to $695 million.

It also will lease seven 737-800s and take delivery of three Airbus 340-300 planes in May and June, Chief Operating Officer Peter Luethi said in Singapore, the airline’s first Southeast Asian destination.

A Boeing spokesman declined to comment.

Jet Airways competes with Air India, Indian Airlines and at least four new carriers that plan to debut in India this year.

Jet Airways, which has a fleet of 34 Boeing 737 planes and eight turboprops, got approval from the government in December to fly overseas, except to the Middle East.

India is viewed as a potentially big market for jet sales, with Air India expected to place a 50-plane order soon. Dinesh Keskar, Boeing’s sales chief for India, said in February he is confident the 777 will win an order for 23 large wide-body jets and options, worth nearly $5 billion at list prices. The rest of the order, for 27 midsize wide-bodies worth about $3 billion, could go to the new 787 or to Airbus.


Ex-Microsoft CFO new board member

Nike yesterday named former Microsoft Chief Financial Officer John Connors to the athletic-footwear company’s board of directors.

Nike said Connors, 46, spent 16 years at Microsoft before retiring to join a venture-capital firm. Nike, whose board now numbers 11 members, said Connors would likely serve on the audit committee.


Pentagon to review 3 more contracts

The Pentagon inspector general will review three more Boeing contracts to ensure they weren’t tainted from actions by former Air Force acquisition official Darleen Druyun, military official said.

The decision, along with previous referrals to the inspector general, means at least nine Boeing contracts have been or are being reviewed because of their connection to Druyun.

The latest referral involves three space programs on which Boeing either shares work with Lockheed Martin or is the prime contractor: the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle, the Global Positioning System Block IIF satellite and the Wideband Gapfiller Communications Satellite.

A Boeing spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Druyun is serving a nine-month prison term for violating federal conflict-of-interest laws by negotiating a job with Boeing while overseeing its business with the Air Force.


Company to unveil digital-music news

RealNetworks said yesterday it will hold a news conference April 26 at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall to unveil a “groundbreaking initiative in digital music.”

It didn’t specify what it would say, but it could debut more substantial versions of its Rhapsody music service and its digital music player, versions that include more interactive, community-focused features.

They would be RealNetworks’ latest bid in the online music industry dominated by Apple Computer’s iTunes.

Compiled from Reuters, Bloomberg News and Seattle Times business staff


Scrushy jury views luxury purchases

Jurors in the trial of HealthSouth founder Richard Scrushy yesterday viewed slides of his Rolls-Royce convertible, a vintage 1929 Cadillac, three boats and statues prosecutors say are spoils of a $2.7 billion fraud he directed.

In all, Scrushy paid more than $8.7 million for luxury items from 2000 to 2003, the government contends, including a 21.8-carat diamond ring worth $370,000, two sport-utility vehicles equipped with $45,000 in armoring, Alabama real estate and six cars.

Prosecutors say the purchases are evidence of how Scrushy laundered HealthSouth funds he obtained in the fraud. U.S. District Judge Karon Bowdre threw out one of 13 money-laundering counts after defense lawyer Art Leach said most of the $3 million Scrushy paid for a Cessna Citation jet came from a Smith Barney account established prior to the fraud.

Scrushy also is charged with securities, wire and mail fraud. His trial is in its 12th week in Birmingham, Ala., federal court. If convicted, Scrushy faces dozens of years in prison and forfeiture of $279 million in assets.

US Airways

Reorganization filing postponed 2 weeks

US Airways Group, seeking to raise funds for an exit from bankruptcy, and creditor General Electric agreed to delay the airline’s filing of a plan of reorganization until the end of this month.

US Airways said in a statement that the agreement with GE Capital Aviation Services and GE Engine Services postponed the date by two weeks to “continue their discussions about US Airways’ progress in finalizing a business plan.” The Arlington, Va., airline was planning to file the reorganization plan by today.

This is the third time US Airways and GE of Fairfield, Conn., agreed to extend the deadline. US Airways, which sought protection from creditors for a second time in two years, expects to exit by June 30.


Web visits decline 9th month in a row

EBay, the world’s largest Internet marketplace, drew 5 percent fewer visitors to its U.S. Web site in March, the ninth consecutive monthly decline.

The number of visitors dropped to 65.9 million last month from 69.7 million a year earlier, according to comScore Networks, a Reston, Va.-based company that measures Internet use.


Agency enforcer says he is quitting

Stephen Cutler, who spearheaded the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) crackdown on the corporate fraud and trading scandals that rattled U.S. investors after the collapse of Enron, said he will resign in a month as the agency’s enforcement chief.

In an interview yesterday, Cutler, 43, said he plans to return to the private sector after six years at the agency. The SEC didn’t announce a successor.

Cisco Systems

$250 million deal to buy Topspin

Cisco Systems, the world’s largest maker of computer-networking equipment, will buy Topspin Communications for $250 million to add to its line of products that connect data-network components.

The price for closely held Topspin includes cash and stock options, Cisco said in a statement yesterday on its Web site.

Topspin, a Mountain View, Calif., company with 135 employees, makes so-called fabric switches that connect computer servers to form grids for networks and data storage.

Compiled from Bloomberg News