FAA Orders New 737 Inspections

The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering $5 million in new inspections for Boeing 737s in response to the tearing of a hole larger than a football in the roof of an aging Southwest Airlines plane during a flight in July 2009. The order, which will be published Wednesday in the Federal Register, calls for repetitive inspections for cracking in the top of the fuselage of 109 planes in the 300, 400 and 500 series. Most of these models are flown by Southwest. The more-thorough inspections for those planes are projected to cost up to $5.2 million, and repairs could cost $17,765 per plane, according to the FAA. The FAA reported no incidents involving the same fixtures since 2009 and the manufacturer, Boeing Co., completed hundreds of inspections worldwide “with few findings,” according to a company spokesman.

 Wire reports

Hobby Lobby to defy pill order

After losing a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court, craft chain Hobby Lobby, with a store in Robinson, will defy a federal health care mandate requiring employers to provide its workers with insurance that covers emergency contraceptives. The Oklahoma City-based chain, owned by a conservative Christian family that has holdings in religious bookseller Mardel Inc., applied to the Supreme Court to block a part of the federal health care law ordering companies to offer insurance that covers contraceptive drugs including the morning-after pill. When the court refused to block the mandate, a lawyer for Hobby Lobby said the Green family will defy the law. Hobby Lobby and Mardel could be fined as much as $1.3 million a day starting Tuesday.

AMF Bowling asks for bonuses

AMF Bowling Worldwide Inc., the world’s largest bowling alley operator, asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to pay as much as $1.03 million in bonuses to three executives when the company is sold or reorganized. The company runs the Noble Manor Lanes in Crafton and Mt. Lebanon Lanes. AMF’s chief financial officer would receive as much as 150 percent of his annual salary if earnings exceed expectations or a buyer pays more than $350 million, according to filings in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond. The controller and general counsel would share in the bonus pool. The Mechanicsville, Va.-based company said it runs 300 bowling centers with more than 20 million visitors a year. AMF exited a prior bankruptcy in February 2002.

Dow Chemical restarts plant

Dow Chemical Co., the largest U.S. chemical maker by revenue, restarted an idled ethylene plant after almost four years because natural gas from shale formations has made U.S. production more competitive. The Olefins 2 plant at St. Charles Operations near Hahnville began producing ethylene on Dec. 25, Nancy Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Midland, Mich.-based company, said. The plant was closed in January 2009. CEO Andrew Liveris is investing $4 billion on the Gulf Coast to boost ethylene and propylene capacity through 2017 because of cheap gas, used as a raw material and to power plants.

 Staff and wire reports

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