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In brief

Boeing 787 to fly this year

Boeing says its 787 aircraft will be ready for its first test flight by the end of this year and its initial delivery in the last three months of 2010, sending its shares higher as it gives some clarity to a program that has been delayed five times already.

Boeing originally scheduled the 787’s first test flight for the fall of 2007. But production problems have forced the company to postpone trial flights of the next-generation passenger jet. The first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways Co. is now more than two years behind its original schedule.

Overall, the plane’s delays are expected to cost Boeing billions of dollars in expenses tied to its halting development and penalties for breaking contract obligations to airlines.

Harley looks to India

Harley-Davidson said Thursday it will begin selling motorcycles next year in India, the world’s second-largest motorcycle market, where the company hopes its iconic, heavyweight bikes will find a niche among the country’s rising middle class.

The Milwaukee-based company said it has established a subsidiary near Delhi and has begun scouting the country for dealers.

India is the world’s largest market for motorcycles behind China, but it is overwhelmingly dominated by smaller, inexpensive bikes used primarily for transportation.

A&E acquires Lifetime

A&E Television Networks said Thursday it is acquiring Lifetime Entertainment Services, bringing the home of “Project Runway” into a stable of profitable channels that includes A&E and the History channel.

Terms of the deal, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year, were not disclosed.

A&E Television Networks is a joint venture between The Walt Disney Co., Hearst Corp. and General Electric Co.’s NBC Universal. Lifetime is already owned 50-50 by Disney and Hearst.

Toll Brothers loss $472.3M

Horsham-based Toll Brothers Inc. says it lost $472.3 million in its fiscal third quarter, as the luxury homebuilder took a large tax hit.

But while Toll Brothers’ results were worse than analysts expected, the company is seeing signs of improvement in many markets.

Toll Brothers sold 792 homes with revenue totaling $461.4 million. Those results were down 36 percent and 42 percent, respectively, from the third fiscal quarter last year.

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