Business Notebook

February 12, 2013 

Nation & World

Boeing wraps up 787 test flights as battery probe continues

Boeing says it is done for now with flight tests to find the source of the battery problems on its 787s. Boeing ran the second test flight of a 787 on Monday. It says the flight, which lasted for about an hour and a half over Washington state, was uneventful. The 787s are grounded because of battery problems that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing. Federal officials grounded the 787 on Jan. 16. Boeing won permission from the Federal Aviation Administration last week to conduct test flights. Boeing says Monday’s flight included two pilots and 11 flight test personnel. The aircraft maker – which makes some of its 787s in North Charleston – has said the test plane includes special equipment that lets it track the conditions of the batteries during the flight.

U.S. recovers $4.2 billion from health care fraud

The government says it recovered almost $8 for each dollar it spent investigating health care fraud over the past three years, including a record $4.2 billion last year. The $7.90 average return on investment is the highest in the 16-year history of the Health Care Fraud and Abuse Program. Since 1997, the program – a joint effort of the departments of Justice and Health and Human Services – has returned more than $23 billion to the Medicare trust funds. Overall, the Justice Department opened more than 1,100 criminal health care fraud investigations last year involving 2,148 potential defendants. More than 800 defendants were convicted of health care fraud-related crimes during the year.

American and US Airways may announce merger this week

Directors of American Airlines and US Airways reportedly plan to meet Wednesday to consider a merger. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that negotiators were still considering the makeup of the combined company’s board and an exact role for the CEO of American parent AMR Corp. US Airways declined to comment and AMR did not return messages. The companies are trying to finish a deal before Friday, when a confidentiality agreement covering some AMR bondholders expires. That could result in public disclosure about negotiation details. If the two carriers were to strike a deal, it would create the world’s biggest airline by passenger traffic, although United Continental Holdings Inc. would still be bigger if regional affiliates are counted. AMR has been operating under bankruptcy protection since November 2011.

Maker’s Mark cuts alcohol content by 3 percent

In response to rapidly increasing demand for bourbon, Maker’s Mark announced it is reducing the amount of alcohol in the spirit to by 3 percent to keep pace with consumer demand. In an email to its best customers, representatives of the brand said the entire bourbon category is “exploding” and demand for Maker’s Mark is growing even faster. Some customers have even reported empty shelves in their local stores, it said.

The Associated Press and Chicago Tribune contributed.

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