Southwest plans counterattackFacing a West Coast challenge...


Southwest plans counterattack

Facing a West Coast challenge this fall by a low-cost United Airlines subsidiary, Southwest Airlines Co. said yesterday it is prepared to make longer flights and start serving new short-haul markets in California.

Officials with Dallas-based Southwest, which has grown into the nation's only consistently profitable airline by offering low-fare, short-haul service, said they initially will see what UAL Corp.'s U2 does when it starts service on Oct. 1.

"If indeed they are as aggressive as their rhetoric has been, then they are indeed going to see an aggressive response," Chief Financial Officer Gary Kelly said.

Duron buys Philadelphia chain

Duron Inc., the Beltsville-based manufacturer of paints and wall covering, said yesterday that it had bought a family-owned chain of paint stores in the Philadelphia area.

Terms of the purchase weren't undisclosed.

The acquisition of the 27-store Buten chain will bring production at the company's plants in Beltsville and Atlanta close to capacity, said Duron President Robert Feinberg.

With the Buten acquisition and the scheduled opening of 19 Duron paint stores this year, Duron will have more than 200 stores along the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Florida.

L Buten will retain its name and become a subsidiary of Duron.

New chicken inspection rules

The government is set to unveil sweeping new standards for inspecting chickens and turkeys to try to reduce disease-causing bacteria on the fowl, Agriculture Department officials said yesterday.

The proposed rules will impose the key "zero-tolerance" regulation, which will prohibit any visible fecal matter on the seven billion chickens and 300 million turkeys processed annually in the United States.

The regulation is already in place for the red meat industry. The Clinton administration has come under recent criticism for not moving faster to also impose the regulation on the multi-billion dollar poultry industry.

The new regulations will add an extra inspection point on poultry processing lines, require reinspection of all chickens found to be contaminated instead of just a sample, and require poultry processors to use bacteria-killing rinses.

Citibank extends Photocard offer

Citibank said yesterday that it has extended its Photocard offer to the bank's MasterCard and Visa card members in the mid-Atlantic region.

The bank said that until Aug. 31, credit card holders can have their photograph taken free at one of its 28 branches in the Washington-Baltimore area. The photograph will be imprinted on customers' current and future credit cards.


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