AirTran's last flight: December
DALLAS -- Another name in aviation history will disappear after the final flight of AirTran Airways, scheduled for Dec. 28.
The Atlanta-to-Tampa trip has been designated AirTran Flight 1 and will retrace the route taken by a predecessor airline's first flight in October 1993.
Then it was known as ValuJet Airlines, a fast-growing, low-cost carrier that flew mostly in the eastern U.S. The airline changed its name through a merger after a 1996 crash in the Everglades that killed all 110 people on board. Investigators blamed the crash shortly after takeoff from Miami on a fire that started with improperly handled oxygen generators in the cargo hold.
Southwest Airlines Co. bought AirTran in 2011 for $1.4 billion and announced plans to combine the fleets under the Southwest brand. It is repainting AirTran's Boeing 737 jets and selling the smaller Boeing 717 planes to Delta Air Lines Inc. A Southwest spokesman said Thursday that there are still a few employees who started at ValuJet.
Southwest does not currently fly beyond the United States, but starting in July, it will take over AirTran service to several destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean.
Meanwhile, it is shuttering service at some of AirTran's smaller destinations in the U.S.
GM recalls 500 pickups, SUVs for air bag controls
DETROIT -- General Motors is recalling about 500 pickup trucks and SUVs to fix faulty air bag controls, its 30th recall so far this year.
The company is in the midst of a companywide safety review after it mishandled the recall of more than 2.6 million older small cars with faulty ignition switches. GM has acknowledged knowing about the switch problem for more than a decade before it began recalling the cars in February.
GM says Friday's recall covers full-size pickups and SUVs from the 2014 and 2015 model years. All 500 are still at dealerships and won't be sold until repairs are made.
New-home sales in U.S. rise 6.4 percent in April
WASHINGTON -- Sales of new homes in the U.S. recovered in April after slumping in the previous two months. But Americans are still buying new homes at a slower pace than they did a year ago.
The Commerce Department said Friday that sales of new homes rose 6.4 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000. That compares with an upwardly revised annual pace of 407,000 in March, when purchases fell 6.9 percent. Buying had dropped 4.4 percent in February, in part because of winter snowstorms.
Demand for newly built homes remains one of the missing pieces of the nearly 5-year-old recovery from the Great Recession. A lack of affordability has limited buying around the country. Sales of new homes are running at roughly half the rate of a healthy real estate market.
-- Herald wire reports