AirTran adds $15 first-bag charge
AirTran Holdings Inc. added a $15 fee for the first checked piece of luggage, joining larger carriers including Delta Air Lines Inc. in charging for the service. The change takes effect for travel on Dec. 5, the Orlando, Fla.-based company said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. The move by AirTran shows that even discount carriers haven't escaped the effects of slowing travel demand and a weakening economy that have forced many airlines to seek new sources of revenue. Delta, which had been the last full-fare U.S. carrier without the $15 first-bag fee, last week reversed course and added the charge. AirTran is the second-largest carrier behind Southwest Airlines at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.
HUD orders simpler forms for mortgages
Prospective home buyers would get a simpler way to understand often-confusing mortgage terms under new rules issued yesterday by the federal government. The Department of Housing and Urban Development overhauled a 1974 law requiring lenders to give a so-called "good-faith estimate" of mortgage costs, including lenders' payments to mortgage brokers. The government, which originally proposed revising these forms more than six years ago and released its latest proposal in March, says the new forms should save consumers about $700 in closing costs. The new forms will be required starting in 2010.
Swiss bank executive indicted in tax probe
MIAMI : A senior executive with Swiss banking giant UBS AG was charged in a federal indictment unsealed yesterday with conspiring to hide $20 billion in assets from the Internal Revenue Service using secret overseas accounts for thousands of wealthy customers. Raoul Weil, chief executive officer of a UBS division handling cross-border business and private banking, is charged with one count of conspiring to defraud the U.S. through income tax evasion. But the indictment also says other UBS executives at high levels of the company took part in the conspiracy. "Every American who pays his or her taxes should be offended that a select few use anonymous offshore accounts to avoid paying their fair share," said U.S. Attorney R. Alexander Acosta of Miami. Weil's lawyer said he is innocent.
QVC to cut about 700 jobs in next 14 months
WEST CHESTER, Pa. : Television shopping company QVC is laying off hundreds of employees. QVC, based in the Philadelphia suburb of West Chester, says it laid off 160 workers yesterday as it begins a cost-cutting program. Ultimately, QVC says about 900 jobs will be eliminated over the next 14 months. About 200 new jobs are to be added. The net reduction of about 700 jobs is 5.8 percent of QVC's U.S. work force. QVC says the measures will save the company $30 million to $40 million next year.