In the Region

American seeks Cuba clearance

With an agreement to allow as many as 110 commercial airline flights a day to Cuba from the United States, American Airlines, Philadelphia's dominant carrier, said Thursday it would apply to the U.S. Department of Transportation early next year to begin regular passenger service there from Miami and other hub airports. American said it had not decided what other U.S. cities would get flights to Cuba and whether Philadelphia would be one of them. United Airlines and JetBlue Airways also announced they would apply to fly to Cuba. American, which has operated charter air service to Cuba since 1991, flew 1,200 charter flights this year from Miami, Tampa, and Los Angeles to five destinations in Cuba. The deal reached between U.S. and Cuban officials Wednesday night would allow 20 routes a day to Havana and 10 a day to each of Cuba's nine other major airports, the State Department said. American Airlines CEO Doug Parker said Thursday: "As the leading carrier to the Caribbean and the leading U.S. airline to Cuba, we look forward to establishing service to Cuba in 2016 from Miami and other American hubs." - Linda Loyd

PUC fines power supplier

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday reprimanded another competitive electricity supplier for charging customers higher rates than it promised during last year's severe winter. The PUC voted to fine Stamford, Conn.-based Public Power L.L.C. $72,500 for overcharging about 50 customers whose variable rates it had promised would not go up by more than 15 percent. The company said that its new owners, Crius Energy, had discontinued the price-protection plan and that it had failed to recognize existing customers on the plan, resulting in the billing errors. The company last year refunded $6,558 to the customers for 119 instances of overcharging, according to the PUC. Public Power is the latest of the unfinished list of suppliers to get penalized for violating utility regulations during the polar vortex, when many variable-rate customers got hit with dramatic increases in energy prices. "I know there's more of these on the horizon," said Commissioner Robert F. Powelson. - Andrew Maykuth

Ex-Phila. Fed boss joins board

Charles I. Plosser, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, has been named to the 24-member board of governors of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the independent regulator of securities firms. Plosser served as president and CEO of the Philadelphia Federal Reserve from 2006 to his retirement in 2015. - Staff report

Action sought against UberX

The Taxi Workers Alliance of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Limousine Association, primarily UberBlack drivers, sent email requests Thursday to Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams and Vince Fenerty, executive director of the Philadelphia Parking Authority. The drivers, who staged a protest that gridlocked Center City on Wednesday, want Williams and Fenerty to meet with them and shut down UberX because UberX drivers don't have licenses to operate a car service in the city. They are allowed to operate everywhere else in Pennsylvania. Uber Technology Inc., the San Francisco company that operates UberBlack limousine service and the lower-cost UberX, said UberX is a ride-sharing mobile app, not a taxi service, so the city parking authority's rules don't apply. Uber introduced the UberBlack service into the market several years ago. UberBlack and Philadelphia cabdrivers say that when Uber introduced UberX to the region, their revenue collapsed, particularly since UberX drivers don't pay the many fees associated with driving a cab. - Jane M. Von Bergen

Spirit adding Minneapolis

Spirit Airlines announced Thursday it would begin a nonstop flight next spring to Minneapolis-St. Paul from Philadelphia International Airport. The daily flight will be seasonal, from April 14 through Nov. 9. Spirit now flies to five U.S. cities from Philadelphia, and in April will add nonstop routes to Los Angeles, Detroit, and Fort Lauderdale from here. The Florida-based airline touts itself as an "ultra low fare carrier" but charges extra for virtually everything including a carry-on bag. It has expanded in Philadelphia since 2013. "This new service to Minneapolis-St. Paul will increase competition, which generally results in more affordable fares," airport CEO Mark Gale said. "This is good news for business and leisure travelers to the upper Midwest region." Currently, American, Delta, and Frontier airlines fly to Minneapolis-St. Paul from Philadelphia. - Linda Loyd


FCC to quiz firms about data

Federal regulators are looking into new offerings, such as T-Mobile's Binge On, that exempt video and other services from data caps to determine whether they violate new rules for Internet traffic. Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said Thursday the agency sent letters to T-Mobile, AT&T, and Comcast asking for informal meetings to discuss "some of the innovative things they are doing. This is not an investigation. This is not any enforcement," he told reporters. - Los Angeles Times