Business & Tech

TALKING POINTS

Boston-New York seaplane service gets the go-ahead

AVIATION

Boston-New York seaplane service gets the go-ahead

Cape Air’s proposal for Boston-New York seaplane service is finally cleared for takeoff. The Boston Planning & Development Agency board on Thursday amended its licensing agreement with Boston Waterboat Marina to allow for docking of seaplanes at the marina’s Long Wharf location for a one-year trial period. The amendment comes with several conditions: Cape Air would be limited to four daily flights, for example, and would not be able to dock overnight at Long Wharf or to refuel there. Planes would also need to yield to ferry traffic. These conditions reflect some of the concerns that had been raised by Boston Harbor Cruises, the largest ferry operator in the harbor. (The seaplane service would generate at least $40,000 in revenue for the BPDA this year.) Cape Air, a Hyannis company led by former state senator Dan Wolf, already has the federal approvals it needs. The nine-passenger Cessnas would take off and land in a stretch of water near Logan Airport; New York-bound planes would disembark at East 23rd Street in Manhattan. One-way prices would be comparable to the walkup fare for the New York shuttle service at Logan Airport. The seaplane trip would take just over an hour. — JON CHESTO

ECONOMY

Consumer prices up slightly in January

Consumer prices rose modestly last month, weighed down by falling gasoline prices. The Labor Department said Thursday that its consumer price index blipped up 0.1 percent in January after rising 0.2 percent in December. Over the past year, consumer inflation is up 2.5 percent, the biggest gain since October 2018. The Fed last year cut its benchmark interest rate three times to the current historically low range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent. The cuts were partly meant to protect a record-breaking economic expansion from the fallout from President Trump’s trade war with China. The central bank has called the current rates “appropriate to support sustained expansion of economic activity” and a strong labor market. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

SOCIAL MEDIA

Russia fines Twitter and Facebook for refusing to store data on Russian server

A court in Moscow fined Twitter and Facebook 4 million rubles each Thursday for refusing to store the personal data of Russian citizens on servers in Russia, the largest penalties imposed on Western technology companies under Internet use laws. The fines of nearly $63,000 are the first five-figure fines levied on tech companies since Russia adopted a flurry of legislation starting in 2012 designed to tighten the government’s grip on online activity. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AUTOMOTIVE

China car sales dropped last month

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China’s auto sales plunged in January, deepening a painful downturn in the industry’s biggest global market and adding to economic pressures as the country fights a virus outbreak. Sales of SUVs, sedans, and minivans fell 20.2 percent from a year earlier to 1.6 million, an industry group, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, reported Thursday. The industry was hurt by Beijing’s decision to extend January’s Lunar New Year holiday in order to keep families at home and reduce chances that infection might spread. That kept factories and dealerships closed. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

BANKING

Barclays CEO
being investigated over ties
to Jeffrey Epstein

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Barclays chief executive officer Jes Staley is being investigated over his ties to disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, his second run-in with British regulators since he joined the bank in 2015. The bank said regulators are probing how Staley characterized his relationship with Epstein, the convicted sex offender who died in his prison cell last year. The newest probe is another distraction for Barclays as it faces additional challenges to meet its profit goals. In 2018, Staley was fined for his attempts to uncover a whistle-blower. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

FINANCE

Record number of 401(k) millionaires

The bull market is minting plenty of millionaires — at least when it comes to retirement accounts. The number of people with $1 million or more in their 401(k) or individual retirement account on the Fidelity Investments platform reached record levels last quarter, fueled by higher savings rates along with market appreciation, the fund company said in a report Thursday. Some 233,000 savers held seven-figure 401(k)s as of Dec. 31, up about 17 percent from the prior quarter. Among IRA holders, 208,000 people made the club, a 14% increase. Investor savings rates have been trending higher in part because employers are automatically increasing their contributions. Among people who have been in their 401(k) plan for 10 years straight, the average balance reached a record $328,200, topping the previous high of $306,500 from last quarter, Fidelity said. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

AUTOMOTIVE

Nissan struggles in wake of Ghosn scandal

Nissan, reeling from a scandal over its former superstar executive Carlos Ghosn, sank into red ink in the latest quarter as its vehicle sales fell around the world, and the Japanese automaker slashed its profit forecast for the year. Nissan Motor Co. reported Thursday a loss of 26 billion yen ($237 million) for October-December, a reversal from the 70 billion yen profit recorded a year earlier. And the results don’t take into account possible damage from production halts in China caused by the new virus outbreak. — ASSOCIATED PRESS

AVIATION

American Airlines to use Seattle as gateway to India

American Airlines Group Inc. wants to establish Seattle as an international gateway for westward flights to India and other locations, with help from a reinvigorated partnership with Alaska Air Group Inc. Nonstop service will begin in October between Seattle and Bangalore, India, the most requested route by big corporate customers, the airlines said in a statement Thursday. American expects to add more flights to India and Asia from Seattle, complementing service to the South Pacific and Europe from the company’s hub in Los Angeles. — BLOOMBERG NEWS

REAL ESTATE

Bezos buys
Beverly Hills mansion
for $165 million

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Jeff Bezos is on a shopping spree befitting the world’s richest man. The Amazon.com Inc. founder agreed to pay $165 million for a Beverly Hills mansion on nine acres, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, setting a record for a Los Angeles-area home. The property designed for Hollywood film titan Jack Warner in the 1930s was described by Architectural Digest in 1992 as the “archetypal studio mogul’s estate,” built in Georgian style with expansive terraces and its own nine-hole golf course. News of the sale emerged just days after filings showed Bezos cashed out $4.1 billion of Amazon shares and comes amid reports that he’s also entered the art market. He reportedly set a record for artist Ed Ruscha at a Christie’s auction with a $52.5 million purchase of “Hurting the Word Radio #2” in November and also bought “Vignette 19” by Kerry James Marshall for $18.5 million. — BLOOMBERG NEWS