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BUSINESS BRIEFLY

Orbitz barred from selling American Airlines tickets

CHICAGO -- Orbitz Worldwide Inc. must stop selling American Airlines' tickets and displaying the airline's fares immediately, a Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court ruled Tuesday.

American, owned by Fort Worth, Texas-based AMR Corp., had sought to sever ties to the Chicago-based online travel agency Dec. 1 as a result of a contract dispute with Orbitz and Travelport, the online travel giant's largest shareholder. Circuit Court Judge Martin Agran on Tuesday refused to grant another preliminary injunction to Travelport, which earlier persuaded the court to intervene to prevent it from suffering economic harm.

American wants to change the way that its tickets are distributed, a move that could shake up the global travel industry and reduce its distribution costs. The nation's third-largest carrier wants travel agencies and giant ticketing clearinghouses to use an electronic pipeline created by American.

The move would enable American to slash its distribution costs, since it pays fees of $3 to $5 for each segment of every trip to both Travelport's subsidiaries and Orbitz.

But critics charge American's aim is to steer more passengers to American's Web site, AA.com, and to make it more difficult for consumers to compare its prices with those of other airlines.

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Toyota sees total sales rising

TOKYO (AP) -- Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it expects global sales to grow 3 percent to 7.7 million vehicles next year with shrinking purchases in Japan offset by growing overseas demand.

The world's No. 1 automaker is targeting sales of 1.3 million vehicles in Japan, down 17 percent. It hopes to sell 6.4 million vehicles outside Japan, up 8 percent.

The expiration of a government subsidy for fuel-efficient cars is taking a big toll on auto sales in Toyota's home market. An industry body warned last week that Japan's auto sales would fall 9.9 percent to 4.47 million vehicles in 2011 -- the lowest level in 34 years.

The story is brighter in overseas markets, particularly emerging economies like China and elsewhere in Asia.

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Zoo store gets new operator

The Buffalo Zoo has hired Service Systems Associates of Denver to manage the zoo store. The company said in a release that it plans to perform a "thorough remerchandising," to compliment the apparel, plush and souvenir goods now sold, and improve sales and customer satisfaction.

Service Systems Associates manages stores and restaurants at museums, botanical gardens, zoos and aquariums in Denver, San Francisco, Los Angles, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Tampa.

"We were impressed with the merchandise and style of the shops they manage at other zoos around the country and are anxious to see what they can do for our retail operations," said Donna M. Fernandes, president and CEO of the zoo.

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Calspan expands NASS role

Calspan Corporation announced Tuesday that has reached agreement to acquire the field operations associated with the National Automotive Sampling System (NASS) in the Eastern U.S. The move will add 45 additional jobs and establish Calspan offices in 13 additional locations, the company said in a release.

Calspan has been a prime contractor for the NASS program since its inception in 1979, providing domain expertise, quality assurance and oversight. NASS is operated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). It collects crash data from counties and major cities to help analyze motor vehicle crashes and injuries.

"We are proud to have expanded our prominent role in leading this critical research," Calspan General Manager Bruce Magoon said in the release.

John Yurtchuk, Calspan's principal investor and co-owner, noted the expanded field presence enhances the company's capabilities and benefits Western New York by adding jobs and opening pathways to additional business.

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