TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS

TECHNOLOGY BRIEFS

OPERATING COMPANY

TAKES OVER EUROTUNNEL

FOLKESTONE, England - Builders Friday handed the Channel Tunnel over to its operating company, which hailed the project as an outstanding contribution to the future of Europe.

Setting aside a long dispute over cost overruns, Eurotunnel took over Europe's biggest building project from the Transmanche Link construction group in a ceremony at the British entrance to the tunnel in Folkestone.

The England-France tunnel, which will open to the public next May, is a year late and two times over budget.

The tunnel, consisting of two 31-mile rail shafts and a smaller service and escape tunnel, is the first land link between Britain and the European Continent since the channel was formed in the Ice Age.

AIR CANADA TO BUY

10 BOMBARDIER JETS

MONTREAL - Air Canada said it signed a deal with Bombardier Inc. to buy 10 Canadair Regional Jets worth about $170 million.

In August, Air Canada signed a letter of intent to acquire 24 jets. The remaining 14 jets should be bought in 1994. Air Canada also has options to buy another 24 aircraft at a later date.

Air Canada said Friday it will receive the first planes in September with subsequent aircraft to be delivered at a rate of one per month. Air Canada said the regional jets will help it offer more frequent service to Washington, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Columbus and St. Louis.

ROBERT REISNER TO LEAD

USPS TECHNOLOGY UNIT

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service named Robert Reisner to head its newly created technology applications group.

Mr. Reisner, who had been a principal in Putnam, Hayes and Bartlett Inc., a Washington consulting firm, will oversee the Postal Service's advanced technology research, new product development, competitive analysis and strategic business planning activities.

AIR FREIGHT SPECIALISTS

FILES UNDER CHAPTER 11

MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee cartage company filed for financial reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, blaming the loss of its largest customer for the filing.

Air Freight Specialists Inc. said Thursday it had lost the business provided by Emery Worldwide.

Gene Mack, Air Freight president, said that move cost the firm about 20 percent of its total sales.

In its bankruptcy petition, privately held Air Freight listed assets of approximately $500,000 and liabilities of $550,000.

Air Freight's largest creditor is Airoldi Brothers Inc., a truck leasing firm. Airoldi is owed $205,227, according to the petition. The next largest creditor is SIVA Truck Leasing Inc., which is owed $79,906.

HUGHES PLANS LAUNCH

OF PHONE SATELLITES

NEW YORK - Hughes Aircraft Co. plans to build a $660 million satellite system allowing the company to move into the long-distance telephone market.

The General Motors Corp. unit said it has applied to the Federal Communications Commission for permission to launch and operate two satellites in 1998.

The system would accommodate more than 11,500 simultaneous video, data or voice transmissions on demand from homes and businesses using low-power transmitters and 26-inch wide dishes. Hughes might eventually hook up with existing players in the long-distance business.

BOOK-TO-BILL RATIO FALLS

AT SEMICONDUCTOR FIRMS

SAN FRANCISCO - Despite a small increase in bookings, the semiconductor industry book-to-bill ratio for the U.S. market fell slightly in November.

Based on a three-month average, November bookings were $2.196 billion, up 0.2 percent from $2.192 billion recorded in October. The month's bookings were 15.8 percent higher than the 1992 November figure of $1.896 billion, according statistics released by the Semiconductor Industry Association.

Semiconductor billings, or shipments based on a three-month average, rose to $2.207 billion in November, up from $2.198 billion the month before, and a 31.7 percent increase from the previous November figure of $1.676 billion.

Finally, the November book-to-bill ratio for companies in the U.S. market is 0.99, compared to October's preliminary ratio of 1.00 and last November's ratio of 1.13.