Last year was the most accident-free year on record for commercial airliners. Read about this and more of the day's top business news stories.
One Accident Every 4.4 Million Flights
The International Air Transport Association Monday issued its report on air safety for 2014 and stated that last year was the most accident-free year on record for commercial airliners. The IATA said there was one accident for every 4.4 million flights, although the number of accidental commercial airlines fatalities rose to more than 600 in 2014. There were no airline fatalities in the United States in 2014. The report listed the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in its data, but not Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 because it was brought down by anti-aircraft weaponry in Ukraine and not by accident.
White House Sanctions Venezuelan Officials
Seven Venezuelan officials have been sanctioned by the White House and have had their U.S. assets frozen, the government announced Monday. The officials listed are banned from entering the United States as well. The sanctions came as President Barack Obama issued an executive order declaring a national emergency related to threats posed by Venezuela’s political unrest. The White House noted alleged human violations and arrests carried out against anti-government protests and called on Venezuela to release political prisoners, including students and opposition leaders. Venezuela’s economy has seen 64 percent inflation in 2014 and is expected to see another 60 percent in inflation in 2015.
The Apple Watch is Coming
On April 10, consumers can pre-order their Apple Watch, which will allow users to make and receive phone calls from the device on their wrist. The device will be available in nine countries on April 24, Apple announced Monday. The Apple Watch sport model starts at $349, one with a larger screen runs at $399, while more expensive stainless steel models run between $549 and $1,099. Apple is also selling a luxury model with 18-karat gold alloys costing $10,000. The Apple Watch will have an 18-hour battery life, allow users to make and receive calls and read emails, while also tracing exercise times. The device will also let users know when they have information addressed to them on their iPhone.
Houston Ship Channel Closed
For the second time in a week, traffic on a portion of the Houston Ship Channel was halted because two ships collided with each other. On Monday it was a tanker and a bulk carrier, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, which said an unknown amount of gasoline additive was spilled into the waters. There were no injuries reported Monday. On Thursday of last week traffic was halted after a tanker and a container ship collided in the waterway, but there was no spill resulting from that accident.
Credit Card Debt Hits Record High
According to a survey conducted by CardHub.com, U.S. consumers added $57.1 billion in net credit card debt in 2014, a 4.7 percent increase from 2013. Jill Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for CardHub, told CNBC “It’s clear that Americans are now confident in the economy and are ready to spend. Unfortunately, they are spending money they don’t actually have.” This is the fifth consecutive year that net credit card debt has increased, after concerns following the financial crisis in 2008 caused consumers to stop charging as much. CardHub said consumers added most of the new debt in the fourth quarter of 2014. The average household held a $7,200 card balance by the end of the year.
Urban Outfitters Tell Good Story
Urban Outfitters, the Philadelphia-based apparel retailer, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit as comparable sales rose for the first time in a year. The company said sales of its Free People line sparked the quarterly rally. Urban Outfitters has been overhauling its stores and merchandise in recent months to fight slumping sales while keeping inventories down of its Anthropologie and Free People brands. Total comparable sales rose 6 percent in the fourth quarter ending January 31.