Pacific Northwest Southwest Airlines pared its planned 2009 jet deliveries by almost a third as travel demand cools. Southwest — which has...

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Aerospace

Southwest to delay some 737s in 2009

Southwest Airlines pared its planned 2009 jet deliveries by almost a third as travel demand cools.

Southwest — which has an all-Boeing 737 fleet — will add no more than 10 new 737s next year, down from a projected 14, Chief Financial Officer Laura Wright said Wednesday.

The four deferred jets will be delayed until 2016, she said.

Southwest has received 26 of the 29 new 737s due for delivery in 2008, and doesn’t know when it will get the remaining jets because of the Machinist strike, Wright said.

Delaying the four jets follows two consecutive monthly declines in passenger traffic, Southwest’s first since 2004, as higher fares and economic weakness discouraged air travel.

Aerospace

Boeing rival says court backs protest

Alabama Aircraft Industries said the U.S. Court of Federal Claims upheld its protest of a $1.1 billion contract awarded to Boeing for the maintenance of U.S. Air Force KC-135 tanker aircraft.

The court ruled the Air Force “must resolicit the procurement,” Alabama Aircraft said Wednesday. The Birmingham, Ala., company said it challenged the award in a June 26 filing.

It took its argument to the court after the Government Accountability Office denied the challenge.

The 10-year Air Force contract extended an arrangement under which Boeing has done maintenance on more than 160 midair-refueling aircraft since October 1998.

Boeing said it will review the court’s ruling before commenting on any specifics.

Real estate

Pacific Plaza fetches $47 million

Pacific Plaza, an eight-story office building in downtown Bellevue, was sold this week for $47 million. It’s the biggest office transaction so far this year in King County, according to county records.

The buyer is a limited liability corporation associated with Bellevue-based Columbia West Properties, whose portfolio includes more than a dozen office, hotel and self-storage properties in the Greater Seattle area.

Pacific Plaza, built in 1986, contains 137,000 square feet of office space. It is at Northeast Second Street and 108th Avenue Northeast.

Few large office buildings in King County have changed hands this year — a marked contrast to 2007, when many were sold, some twice.

Compiled from Bloomberg News and Seattle Times staff

Insurance

Title company settles complaint

The state insurance commissioner and a title company say they’ve settled a regulatory complaint for $400,000.

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler claimed that Stewart Title of Snohomish County violated limits on gifts by paying too much for advertising with real-estate agents, and paying monthly fees to rent desks to agents. Kreidler alleged the desks mostly sat empty.

The parent firm, Stewart Title Guaranty Co., said Wednesday it admitted no liability in the settlement. The company also said it believes the alleged violations were never clearly prohibited.

Kreidler said $150,000 of the fine will be suspended, pending the successful completion of a compliance plan. Kreidler initially proposed a $1.95 million fine.

Labor relations

Starbucks settles NLRB complaint

Starbucks has settled a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint with an employee who said he was fired this summer for promoting union activity.

The settlement stemmed from a complaint filed in July by Minneapolis barista Erik Forman, who claimed he was fired for encouraging workers to join the Industrial Workers of the World. He was fired July 10 after he received a “final written warning” for showing up half an hour late to work.

Starbucks then reversed its decision and hired Forman back in August, saying the initial firing was “ill-considered.” Starbucks, though, said Forman’s firing had nothing to do with his activity in the union.

“We view this settlement of the NLRB charge as confirming the steps we already took to make things right in this situation,” Starbucks said in a statement.

Under the terms of the settlement, Starbucks will post a notice in Forman’s store for 60 days informing workers they have a right to unionize under federal law.

Nation and World

Telecommunications

Apple lets iPhone developers talk

IPhone developers and publishers of iPhone-related books cheered Wednesday after Apple said it would lift the software nondisclosure agreement (NDA) that had prevented them from discussing the process of creating programs for the device.

Dave Thomas, a co-founder of Pragmatic Programmers, a publisher and consulting firm, had held back the publication of iPhone books and other products because of the NDA. He celebrated on his blog Wednesday: “A great huzzah! was heard through the land.”

It’s common for companies to make developers agree to NDAs before a product is launched.

But Apple had frustrated iPhone developers who had downloaded the free developer’s kit by not waiving that NDA once the iPhone 2.0 software update was released July 11. That meant no iPhone software chitchat in online forums or iPhone problem-solving sessions in the hallways at conferences.

Compiled from The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times