RAIL WORKERS UNION
CALLS FOR STRIKE IN FRANCE
PARIS - France's Communist-led CGT rail workers union called Wednesday for a nationwide train strike next Tuesday, accusing the government of planning to curb worker benefits.
Other trade unions had cautiously welcomed Prime Minister Alain Juppe's new and leaner government, applauding his creation of a superministry to oversee welfare reforms.
But the CGT union, believed to represent about half of rail workers, said the government was preparing to curb special pension and other rights earned over the years in compensation for difficult working conditions.
The union said the strike would begin Monday and continue until Wednesday.
NORTHWEST TO PREPAY
$837 MILLION IN DEBT
MINNEAPOLIS - Northwest Airlines Corp. said Wednesday it plans to prepay over $800 million in bank debt and will report an estimated $9 million accounting charge when it reports 1995 earnings.
Northwest said it will prepay the remaining $837 million of outstanding indebtedness under a 1989 leveraged buyout bank loan using a new $300 million loan and $537 million of cash on hand.
Northwest said it had $1.51 billion in cash on hand as of Oct. 31.
The charge, to be reported for the year ending Dec. 31, will translate into 8 cents a share.
Northwest said the new unsecured loan was from a group of banks, including the Netherlands' ABN Amro Bank NV, Bankers Trust Co., Chemical Bank, Citibank, First Bank National Association and National Westminster Bank PLC.
FAA CHIEF PUSHES
MORE SHARING OF DATA
SEATTLE - The head of the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday called for an international system to share airline operation data in an effort to reduce the commercial aircraft accident rate to near zero.
FAA Administrator David Hinson warned that unless the current rate is reduced significantly, the projected rise in air traffic means the annual number of catastrophic accidents could double to more than 40 over the next 20 years.
Mr. Hinson said the FAA is just beginning an effort to win support from overseas agencies for creation of an international data exchange, which he dubbed the Global Analysis and Information Network, that would store information on any unusual incidents in flight.
AIR CANADA WILL FLY
TORONTO TO PHILADELPHIA
PHILADELPHIA - Air Canada will begin nonstop service four times each business day from Philadelphia to Toronto's Pearson International Airport beginning
Air Canada will operate 50-passenger Canadair CL-65 jets on the flights.
BRITISH AIRWAYS ORDERED
TO COMPENSATE HOSTAGES
PARIS - A French court Wednesday ordered British Airways to compensate 61 Persian Gulf War hostages who accused the airline of landing them in Kuwait without previous warning just hours after the 1990 Iraqi invasion.
It said the passengers - French citizens and foreign residents of France - on the BA flight from London that was seized in Kuwait by Iraqi forces should get $80,000 to $120,000 each in damages, according to the time they spent in captivity.
The court, contradicting rulings by courts in England and Scotland that have rejected similar lawsuits, said the airline was "fully responsible" for the capture of its passengers.
The Boeing 747, on a London-Madras-Kuala Lumpur flight with 364 people on board, was seized when it landed in Kuwait four hours after Iraqi troops entered the emirate Aug. 2, 1990.
AIR CARGO, PASSENGERS
UP SO FAR IN 1995
GENEVA - International airline passenger traffic rose by 8 percent in the first nine months of 1995 and freight traffic grew by 11 percent, the International Air Transport Association said Wednesday.
IATA, which groups over 200 international airlines worldwide, said in its monthly statement that both passenger and freight traffic grew 9 percent in September.
Passenger seat supply grew 7 percent in September over the same month last year and rose 6 percent over the first nine months.