Business Briefs


POSTED: Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Hawaiian Air leads in punctuality

Hawaiian Airlines ended 2008 as the nation's most punctual carrier for the fifth straight year and was barely edged out of the top spot as the most reliable luggage handler, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Air Travel Consumer Report.

Hawaiian had 90 percent of its flights arrive within 15 minutes of the scheduled time in 2008, which placed it 9.5 percentage points ahead of the second-place finisher and was 14 percentage points better than the industry average. For December, Hawaiian led the industry with a 79.6 percent on-time rate.

Hawaiian finished second nationally for fewest misplaced bags in 2008. Last year, the carrier averaged 2.97 mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers. In December, Hawaiian finished second with 2.76 mishandled baggage reports.

In addition, Hawaiian ranked second in 2008 for the fewest oversales, which came in at 0.07 percent for every 10,000. In the fourth quarter, Hawaiian also finished second with a 0.04 percent oversales average.


Court rules against Kupau eligibility

A federal District Court judge in Hawaii has denied Oliver Kupau an exemption from his disqualification as business manager of a labor union.

District Judge Helen Gillmor issued the court order last Wednesday, denying Kupau from the exemption as business manager of the Laborers International Union of North America Local 368. Kupau filed for the exemption in June, saying his right to due process was violated.

The order found that Kupau organized, ran and profited from illegal cockfight gambling derbies on four separate occasions in the mid-1980s. He was convicted of money laundering in November 2002, and thus, is prohibited from holding union office or employment even though he was nominated in March 2008. LIUNA terminated Kupau's employment as business agent in June 2008.



Amazon's new Kindle gets slimmer

NEW YORK >> Amazon.com Inc. is releasing a slimmer version of its Kindle electronic reading device, but it still costs $359 - making it unclear how mainstream even an improved Kindle can be during a brutal recession.

Rather than lowering the price, Seattle-based Amazon touted several upgrades to the e-book reader and a novella from Stephen King that will be available exclusively for the device. The new Kindle is expected to begin shipping Feb. 24, with owners of the first Kindle at the front of the line if they want to upgrade.

The Kindle 2 is a bit more than one-third of an inch thick - about half the thickness of the first Kindle. Its 6-inch screen can display 16 shades of gray, compared with the previous Kindle's four shades.



Watanabe new chair of Nature Conservancy

Attorney and community leader Jeff Watanabe has been named the new chairman of The Nature Conservancy's Corporate Council for the Environment.

Watanabe, a minority investor in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, is an ex-trustee of the Conservancy. He served on the board for 19 years, including eight years as chairman.

He replaces Stanley Hong, who led the corporate giving program for five years.

The Nature Conservancy's Corporate Council for the Environment was launched in 1987 to engage the business community in supporting conservation in Hawaii, emphasizing the direct link between the economy and the environment.


Isle hotels named tops for cupid

Online travel booking company Travelocity named Oahu's Turtle Bay Resort and the Hyatt Regency on Maui to its list of the most romantic hotels in North America.

Travelocity customers can even receive up to a 25 percent discount on the upcoming Valentine's Day weekend to those properties. The hotels and discount are available at http://www.travelocity.com/cupid.

The company looked at the hotels that were most highly rated overall, and that also received the highest ratings for “;romance”; in San Francisco, New Orleans, New York City, Hawaii, Mexico and the Caribbean.


Hasbro earnings tumble 30%

NEW YORK » Hasbro Inc. said yesterday that its fourth-quarter profit fell a sharper-than-expected 30 percent as the nation's second-biggest toy maker cut prices on many items during the sluggish holiday season and the stronger dollar hurt results.

The Pawtucket, R.I.-based maker of the Scrabble and Monopoly games and Playskool toys earned $93.6 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $133.7 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier.


Disney, DreamWorks reach deal

BURBANK, Calif. » The Walt Disney Co.'s motion picture arm said yesterday it has agreed to a long-term exclusive distribution deal with Steven Spielberg's DreamWorks SKG movie studio after a similar agreement between DreamWorks and Universal Pictures fell apart last week.

Walt Disney Studios said yesterday it will handle distribution and marketing for six live action DreamWorks films a year under its Touchstone Pictures brand beginning in 2010. The company did not disclose any financial details of the agreement.


Magazine newsstand sales fall

NEW YORK » Sales of U.S. magazines at newsstands and other retail outlets dropped during the second half of 2008 as readers looked for ways to trim discretionary spending, but overall circulation was largely flat.

In releasing twice-annual circulation figures for magazines, the Audit Bureau of Circulations said combined single-copy sales averaged 43,367,098, down 11 percent from the second half of 2007.

The totals are based on all 535 magazines that reported circulation in both 2007 and 2008. Overall circulation was 345,176,148 during the 2008 period, a 0.9 percent drop. Subscriptions increased slightly, by 0.5 percent.


McDonald's January sales up

NEW YORK » Cash-strapped consumers kept buying McDonald's burgers and breakfast items in January, helping the fast-food company post a 7.1 percent worldwide increase in same-store sales for the month.

The nation's No. 1 hamburger chain has been posting strong sales as the economic downturn in the U.S. spreads overseas and people turn away from pricier restaurants to grocery stores and fast-food outlets. In the U.S., sales at locations open at least a year rose 5.4 percent.