UK manufacturing, Boeing, British Airways, Shell, US tech firms: your commercial news round-up

updated on 30 July 2020

Develop your commercial awareness with the help of this weekly round-up of key business stories from LawCareers.Net.

  • UK car manufacturing has slumped to its lowest level since 1954 in the last six months, as coronavirus continues to impact the sector with widespread closures and job losses. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warned that the addition of post-Brexit trade tariffs on exports to key markets threaten to further damage the industry. Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "These figures are yet more grim reading for the industry and its workforce, and reveal the difficulties all automotive businesses face as they try to restart while tackling sectoral challenges like no other. Recovery is difficult for all companies, but automotive is unique in facing immense technological shifts, business uncertainty and a fundamental change to trading conditions while dealing with coronavirus."
  • Aerospace firm Boeing will stop manufacturing the 747 ‘jumbo’ aircraft and slow production of many of its other jet types, having revealed losses of $2.4 billion. Covid-19 has drastically reduced demand for air travel, badly affecting airlines which have responded by cutting their fleets and delaying or cancelling orders for new planes.
  • The government’s introduction of the 14-day quarantine rule for people arriving from regions where there has been a spike in coronavirus cases has been opposed by leading figures in the travel and airline industries, who say that it marks "the latest significant blow to a sector which now risks being permanently scarred”. In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, leading industry figures including the chief executives of British Airways and Heathrow Airport called for blanket quarantine measures to be replaced with regional travel corridors.
  • Tech companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have “too much power”, stifle competition and spread fake news, according to US lawmakers on the Congressional antitrust subcommittee. In a robust hearing Amazon boss Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai of Google’s parent company Alphabet were subjected to tough questioning and criticism from Republicans and Democrats.
  • Music artists including Rihanna, Lorde and Mick Jagger have called on US politicians to ask permission before playing their songs at rallies. US copyright laws allow politicians to use whatever recorded music they want at rallies, but artists are able to complain if the repeated use of their music without permission causes damage to their image and reputation. In an open letter, they called on US politicians to respond by 10 August.