TRANSPORT BRIEFS

TRANSPORT BRIEFS

ECUADOR COMPLETES

AIRLINE PRIVATIZATION

NEW YORK - Ecuador and Prudential Securities have completed the privatization of government-owned airline Ecuatoriana de Aviacion SA, Ecuador announced Tuesday.

VASP/Ecuador, a consortium of the Brazilian airline Viacao Aerea Sao Paulo SA and Juan Eljuri Anton, an Ecuadoran investor, was the winning bidder for the 50.1 percent stake in the airline. The valuation of annual revenues was one of the highest of any Latin American airline privatization in recent years.

A consortium consisting of Prudential Securities Inc., Aviation Management Services and Simat, Helliesen and Eichner Inc. advised Ecuador on the sale, Ecuador said.

Ecuadoran law mandates that the government sell an additional 24.9 percent of the company through one or more public offerings after a minimum of 180 days from the closing of the VASP/Ecuador purchase.

CATERPILLAR, UNION

ARE TALKING AGAIN

PEORIA, Ill. - Together again for the first time.

Caterpillar Inc. and the striking United Auto Workers resumed negotiations Tuesday after a five-month hiatus.

This time, the union has a new president and a new negotiating chief. The change could make all the difference in ending a strike that has lasted well over a year.

When the UAW elected Stephen Yokich its international president in June, he made it clear that ending the strike would be a top priority.

He appointed Richard Shoemaker, vice president, to oversee the situation, and they immediately began meeting with local union leaders to settle on strategy. The pair have been meeting informally with top Caterpillar officials to see where each side stands.

Between 9,000 and 13,000 have been on strike against the company since June 1994.

USAIR SLICING FARES

TO 7,500 DESTINATIONS

ARLINGTON, Va. - USAir Group Inc. said it is cutting fares by up to 58 percent for flights to more than 7,500 destinations in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

The tickets must be purchased no later than Sept. 1, and require a Friday night stay and a seven-day advance purchase, the airline said.

In certain other markets, the tickets must be purchased no later than Sept. 15 with a Saturday night stay and a 14 day advance purchase, it said.

American Airlines said it will match the discounted fares, while Southwest Airlines Inc. said it has had a systemwide 50 percent discount since July.

GARY AIRPORT PASSES

$3.9 MILLION BUDGET

GARY, Ind. - The Gary Regional Airport Board approved a $3.9 million budget for 1996, most of which will be used to pay off the airport's bills, leaving it debt-free.

Of the total budget, $1.4 million is for day-to-day operating expenses and $2.5 million is for the debt service fund. The airport is paying back money it borrowed to make airport improvements and to build the cargo building.

The airport's budget translates to a tax rate of about 59 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The budget will now go to the State Tax Commission for final approval.