Business & Finance
In a new round of job cuts in the aviation industry:
• American Airlines announced it will trim 1,100 flight-attendant positions as part of a previously announced 3.3 percent reduction in service in North America. The US's largest carrier said it will offer voluntary job-sharing and unpaid leave as alternatives to layoffs.
• United Airlines said it will furlough 352 more pilots by February, while eliminating eight executive-officer posts. The carrier also announced an 11 percent pay cut for top executives. Its mechanics union votes today on a proposed 7 percent pay cut that United says is vital to win a $1.8 billion federal loan guarantee.
• Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. said it is laying off 267 workers. The builder of helicopters for both military and civilian applications blamed its third round of reductions since October on a decline in overseas orders. Sikorsky, based in Stratford, Conn., is a subsidiary of defense contractor United Technologies.
Fighting through its deep financial problems, Vivendi Universal announced it will cut loose its entertainment assets in the US next year. Executives of the Paris-based multimedia conglomerate said the move would be accomplished through an outright sale or via a separate stock-market listing. Those properties include Universal Studios, Universal music, and USA Networks - the latter an umbrella group for cable-TV operations, online travel reservations services, and retail ticket sales. That would leave Vivendi with only pay-TV and telecommunications holdings in Europe. To solidify the latter, the company also has said it will exercise its right of first refusal for the 26 percent stake in French phone service provider Cegetel owned by BT Group. The purchase will cost $3.98 billion and is aimed at thwarting industry giant Vodafone's bid to take over Cegetel. Vivendi also turned down Vodafone's $7.5 billion offer for its entire stake in Cegetel.