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Princess Cruises adds to Kaua‘i stops • Delta hints at frequent flier changes • AT&T gains customers in 4Q, posts big loss • McD’s fish to carry ‘sustainable’ labeling • Toyota sold nearly 9.75M vehicles in ‘12
Princess Cruises adds to Kaua‘i stops
SANTA CLARITA, Calif. — Princess Cruises will be adding two sailings to Hawai‘i in early 2014 , along with additional voyages to New Zealand, Tahiti and South America.
Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Corp., announced a 12-day cruise that will sail from Pape‘ete in Tahiti with ports of call in Kaua‘i, Maui, Kona, Hilo, Bora Bora and Mo‘orea. The cruise departs April 11, 2014, according to a statement.
The other offering is a 10-day Hawaiian Islands cruise that sails to Vancouver and features ports of call in Kaua‘i, Honolulu, Kona and Hilo before sailing across the Pacific to British Columbia. The cruise departs April 23, 2014.
Both cruises will be aboard the Pacific Princess, which accommodates 680 passengers.
“South America and the South Pacific have been among our most popular cruises recently, so these new voyages offer wonderful additional opportunities for passengers to explore the natural beauty and colorful cultures of these destinations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Whether passengers want to meet a penguin or learn to hula, these cruises offers a great way to find the experience of a lifetime.”
Delta hints at frequent flier changes
MINNEAPOLIS — Delta says its frequent flier program will increasingly favor big spenders over people who simply rack up miles.
Delta is one of the major airlines providing direct service to Kaua‘i from the U.S. Mainland.
Most airlines reward how many miles you fly, not how many dollars you spend. But Delta Air Lines Inc. President Ed Bastian said on Tuesday that future changes would likely favor travelers who spend more. That’s Delta’s strongest hint yet that it may move the whole frequent flier program further in that direction.
Last week, Delta announced that frequent fliers would need to spend a minimum amount of money to earn a higher frequent-flier status. Travelers prize that status because it moves them to the front of airport lines and lets them qualify for upgrades to first class.
Two years ago Southwest changed its frequent flier program to reward more-expensive tickets.
AT&T gains customers in 4Q, posts big loss
NEW YORK — The launch of the iPhone 5 helped AT&T attract more new customers in the holiday quarter than it has in three years, but it posted a big loss because of an annual adjustment to its pension obligations.
AT&T Inc. says it added a net 780,000 new customers on contract-based plans from October to December, its best result in three years.
The Dallas-based company’s quarterly loss was $3.86 billion, or 68 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $6.68 billion, or $1.12 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, AT&T earned 44 cents per share, 2 cents short of the average analyst estimate as polled by FactSet.
Revenue was $32.6 billion, up a hair from $32.5 billion a year ago. It slightly exceeded analyst estimates of $32.2 billion.
McD’s fish to carry ‘sustainable’ labeling
NEW YORK — McDonald’s says it will be the first national restaurant chain to carry a label from a group that certifies sustainable fishing practices.
The blue “ecolabel” from the Marine Stewardship Council certifies that the Alaskan Pollock used in McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish sandwiches come from suppliers with sustainable fishing practices.
Major retail chains including Wal-Mart and Whole Foods already use the council’s label. The nonprofit group is paid a royalty fee from companies that use its label.
For McDonald’s, that means the fee would be based on sales of its fish offerings, such as the Filet-O-Fish and the Fish McBites that will be launched as a limited-time offer next month.
The Marine Stewardship Council, which has its U.S. headquarters in Seattle and international base in London, isn’t the only group that offers consumer labeling for seafood.
Last year, for example, Whole Foods also stopped carrying wild-caught seafood that’s “red-rated,” which indicates it’s either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species.
The move reflects the growing concerns among consumers about the sources of their seafood.
Major supermarket chains have also moved recently to try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.
The Marine Stewardship Council has about 300 fisheries in its program, representing between 12 to 14 percent of the world’s fisheries, said Kerry Coughlin, the group’s regional director for the Americas.
Fisheries can go through a confidential pre-assessment phase to get guidance on whether they’re ready for certification.
Coughlin said about 30 to 40 percent of fisheries aren’t ready when they start the pre-assessment phase, but that more than 90 percent obtain certification after beginning the full, official assessment process.
McDonald’s Corp. gets all its fish in the U.S. from a single Alaskan Pollock fishery, Coughlin said.
The chain’s restaurants in Europe already use the council’s label.
A spokeswoman for McDonald’s, Christina Tyler, said all U.S. stores should have the labeling by early February.
McDonald’s stopped using Eastern Baltic Cod in the early 1990s because of sustainability concerns. Since 2007, the company has sourced Alaskan Pollock and New Zealand Hoki exclusively from fisheries with the Marine Stewardship Council’s label. Now the chain uses only Alaskan Pollock for its fish items in the U.S., Tyler said.
Toyota sold nearly 9.75M vehicles in ‘12
TOKYO — Now it’s official: Toyota is once again the world’s top automaker.
Toyota Motor Corp. released its tally for global vehicle sales for last year Monday at 9.748 million vehicles — a bigger number than the estimate it gave last month at about 9.7 million vehicles.
It was already clear Toyota had dethroned General Motors Co. as the Detroit-based automaker fell short, selling 9.29 million vehicles.
GM had been the top-selling automaker for more than seven decades before losing the title to Toyota in 2008.
GM retook the sales crown in 2011, when Toyota’s production was hurt by the quake and tsunami in northeastern Japan. The latest results show Toyota’s powerful comeback.
Volkswagen AG of Germany sold a record 9.1 million vehicles around the world.
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