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Talking Points

JetBlue suspending flights from Worcester, Providence

JetBlue is planning to temporarily suspend service at nearly 20 airports, including Worcester Regional and T.F. Green in Warwick, R.I.
JetBlue is planning to temporarily suspend service at nearly 20 airports, including Worcester Regional and T.F. Green in Warwick, R.I.Kathy Willens/Associated Press/Associated Press


JetBlue to suspend flights from Worcester for two months

JetBlue Airways plans to temporarily suspend its flights out of Worcester from April 15 through June 10 to focus its efforts at Logan Airport in Boston and several other key hubs as it adjusts to the severe downturn in the aviation industry. The New York-based airline, long the biggest at Logan by market share, told federal regulators that it faces a liquidity crisis, much like other airlines. Last April, the airline received $22 million each day in revenue. This April, that’s down to $1 million. As a result, it intends to temporarily suspend service at nearly 20 airports, including Worcester Regional Airport and T.F. Green in Warwick, R.I. JetBlue told the US Department of Transportation that it plans to gradually resume service at these affected airports as soon as it is safe to do so and the customer demand returns. JetBlue has been flying out of Worcester to New York, Orlando, and Fort Lauderdale. — JON CHESTO


Jump seats, safety demonstrations are out for flight attendants

Airline flight attendants can select seats within the cabin rather than cram together near galleys and no longer need to demonstrate safety equipment in new measures approved by federal regulators to help keep them safe from the new coronavirus. The Federal Aviation Administration revised the guidelines Thursday in response to requests from Airlines for America, the lobbying group for major carriers. Some unions representing flight attendants also had sought relief from the rules. Airlines must individually request an exemption that would remain in effect until June 30. Several US carriers have stopped normal food and beverage service, stepped up aircraft cleaning, blocked off middle seats, and allowed flight attendants to wear masks and gloves in an effort to avoid spreading the highly contagious virus aboard planes. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Deere to swap tractors for face shields

As it slows production of those iconic green-and-yellow machines, Deere & Co. has started making face shields to protect health care workers battling the coronavirus. The world’s largest tractor maker began producing the protective gear at a factory in Moline, Ill., that typically makes crop-planting and other agricultural equipment, according to a company statement Thursday. Deere is the latest manufacturer to retool as the coronavirus roils global economies. General Motors Co. is making 1.5 million face masks a month at a plant in Michigan and will start making ventilators next week in Indiana. Spirit makers and biofuel producers have pivoted to churning out alcohol for hand sanitizers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Swiss retailer’s hand sanitizer seized by Italian customs officers

A Swiss retailer is crying foul after a truckload of hand sanitizer it had ordered was commandeered by Italian customs officers. The shipment of disinfectant gel, purchased by Victory Switzerland GmbH for 32,000 euros ($34,800), was stopped by officials on March 30, according to Daniel Gerber, the company’s managing director. Italy confirmed the seizure in an April 3 statement, saying officials were authorized to confiscate individual protection devices and sanitary equipment considered essential in the coronavirus pandemic. The capture of the Swiss-bound cargo is the latest example of countries moving to secure medical supplies, sanitary items, and essential goods for their own citizens amid the global pandemic. President Trump slammed 3M Co. for shipping respirator masks to countries including Canada after he had invoked the Defense Production Act to ban the export of supplies to fight the virus. On Monday, he said he had reached a deal with 3M to provide an additional 55.5 million mask to US health care workers. — BLOOMBERG NEWS



Refineries may be forced to close

The next step for some US refineries that have already cut way back may be a full stop. Marathon Petroleum Corp. will idle its Gallup, N.M., refinery and related assets April 15, the company said. It’s the first US facility to shut as the coronavirus pandemic empties skies of passenger planes and the roads of cars. It’s not likely to be the last. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Car buyers in Wuhan flock to dealerships

If the stream of visitors to auto dealerships in Wuhan is any guide, the recovery of the car business in China and perhaps the world could be rapid. Companies in the city of 11 million, the original center of the coronavirus and the first to be sealed off, have been gradually opening their doors; officially, the lockdown there was lifted Wednesday. The strength of pent-up demand took some car dealers by surprise, with daily sales now running at levels seen before the economic freeze. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Airbus cuts output by a third

Airbus slashed its aircraft output by a third in a stark concession to the coronavirus pandemic that’s upended the aviation industry. The world’s biggest commercial aircraft manufacturer now plans to produce about 48 planes a month across its A320, A330, and A350 programs, it said Wednesday in a statement. It had gone into the year with a goal of handing over about 880 planes, or an average of 73 per month. — BLOOMBERG NEWS


Google ordered by France to pay news publishers for content

Google was ordered by French antitrust regulators to pay publishers to display snippets of their articles after years of helping itself to excerpts for its own news service. The French antitrust agency gave the Alphabet Inc. unit three months to thrash out deals with press publishers and agencies demanding talks on how to remunerate them for displaying their content. European publishers have been pushing regulators for more than a decade to tackle the power of Google, which has lured away billions of euros in advertising revenue. — BLOOMBERG NEWS