BRIEFS

BRIEFS

SHIPS

CLINTON NOMINATES LOY

TO HELM COAST GUARD

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - President Clinton Tuesday nominated Vice Adm. James Loy to be the commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, a White House spokesman said.

Vice Adm. Loy, who most recently has been the Coast Guard's chief of staff, will succeed Adm. Bob Kramek as the 21st commandant of the Coast Guard. His nomination requires Senate confirmation.

A native of Altoona, Pa., Vice Adm. Loy joined the armed forces as a cadet at the Coast Guard Academy in 1960. He has commanded four Coast Guard cutters, including 43 combat patrols in the Vietnam war.

PLANES

BAX GLOBAL TO ACQUIRE

ARKANSAS-BASED CARRIER

RICHMOND, Va. - BAX Global Inc. announced Wednesday it has agreed to acquire an air carrier with which it has had a wet lease agreement.

The purchase for privately held Air Transport International LLC will be less than $30 million in cash subject to possible adjustments, BAX said.

The transaction is also subject to regulatory and judicial approvals and other conditions.

ATI, based in Little Rock, Ark., is a freight and passenger carrier operating a fleet of DC-8 aircraft providing service for BAX and other customers.

US AIRWAYS UNVEILS

STOCK REPURCHASE PLAN

ARLINGTON, Va. - US Airways Group Inc. has unveiled a financial plan calling for it to repurchase $500 million worth of common stock and retire about $380 million of debt. The airline will also repurchase $358 million worth of preferred stock held by billionaire investor Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The moves are expected to result in a cash stockpile topping $1 billion at the end of 1998.

In addition to the financial steps, US Airways projected its passenger capacity will shrink 5 percent in the first quarter, driving costs up 3 percent to 3.5 percent from the same period in 1997.

That will happen due to retirement of DC-9s, a plane with limited cargo capacity.

For all of 1998, US Airways expects capacity to fall by 2.4 percent as unit costs rise about 2 percent.

US Airways, which for years has grappled with high costs, also projected 1998 operating income to top 1997 levels.

KLM NET INCOME UP

SHARPLY IN 3RD QUARTER

AMSTERDAM - KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Tuesday reported net income in its third quarter was 46 million guilders ($22.5 million), up sharply from a loss of 7 million guilders ($3.42 million) a year earlier.

Revenue in the third quarter amounted to 3.226 million guilders ($1.57 million), up from 2.546 million guilders ($1.24 million) in the comparable period of 1996. Its third quarter ended Dec. 31.

''Most major economies were generally strong with the distinct exception of Asia Pacific where the December load factor of Asia Pacific passenger operations dropped to 66.8 percent from 69.7 percent year-on-year,'' KLM said.

KLM said a rationalization of its Asia-Pacific route system completed in 1997 would minimize the effects of the Asian financial crisis on earnings even though it expected the situation in the region to ''put pressure on earnings in the January to March 1998 period.''