3 To Know: RSW news, airbag warning, more
1. Sun Country Airlines starts Wisconsin route at Southwest Florida International Airport
It’s been a busy year at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) when it comes to new routes being added to the list of options for travelers leaving and coming to Fort Myers.
The Lee County Port Authority celebrated its newest route, welcoming Sun Country Airlines’ new nonstop service to Eau Claire, Wisconsin (EAU). The inaugural flight was on Monday, the first of what will be two weekly flights from RSW to EAU.
The Minnesota-based Sun Country Airlines announced the RSW-EAU service in July.
Sun Country was selected by the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide Essential Air Service (EAS) for Chippewa Valley Regional Airport Eau Claire beginning this month. Along with the new Fort Myers route, Sun Country will provide Eau Claire with a total of four weekly round trips per week including two round trips to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and approximately two round trips per week to Orlando and Las Vegas adjusted seasonally.
In November, Avelo Airlines added three routes at RSW: Raleigh-Durham and Kalamazoo and Lansing, Michigan. Earlier this year Avelo started offering Connecticut’s Tweed-New Haven Airport as a destination. – Mark H. Bickel/Staff
2. Drivers of older Chrysler, Dodge vehicle urged 'do not drive' after third air bag death
Stellantis and federal regulators say a third person has died in a crash involving an older Chrysler or Dodge vehicle as a result of an exploding Takata air bag, prompting an urgent warning that owners not drive those vehicles until they’re repaired.
The latest fatality involved a 2010 Chrysler 300 and a ruptured driver’s side air bag inflator, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a news release Monday. The agency noted that a total of five people, apparently also involving vehicles from other automakers, have been killed in such crashes this year.
The company said that the problem is related to chemical properties that "may deteriorate over time, particularly if exposed to hot, humid climates."
Stellantis, through its U.S. operating arm FCA US, reiterated an alert from last month:
Stellantis issued a “Do Not Drive” warning for 276,000 2005-2010 Dodge Magnums, Chargers, Challengers and Chrysler 300s.
When the warning was issued, authorities had confirmed the deaths of two people in separate crashes involving exploding Takata air bags in 2010 Dodge Chargers.
Owners or custodians of the vehicles should call 833-585-0144 to have them towed for service; both the tow and the service are free.
NHTSA said it urges all vehicle owners to check to see whether their vehicle has an open Takata air bag recall, and if so, to schedule a free repair as soon as possible.
The agency said “even minor crashes can result in exploding air bags that can kill or produce life-altering injuries.” – Eric D. Lawrence/Detroit Free Press
3. CFPB orders Wells Fargo to repay $2B to customers as part of $3.7B settlement
Consumer banking giant Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3.7 billion to settle a laundry list of charges that it harmed consumers by charging illegal fees and interest on auto loans and mortgages, as well as incorrectly applied overdraft fees against savings and checking accounts.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Tuesday ordered Wells to repay $2 billion to consumers and enacted a $1.7 billion penalty against the bank. It's the largest fine to date against any bank by the CFPB and the largest fine against Wells, which has spent years trying to rehabilitate itself after a series of scandals tied to its sales practices.
The bureau says the bad behavior by the bank impacted more than 16 million customers. In addition to improperly charging its auto loan customers with fees and interest, in some cases the bank wrongfully repossessed borrowers' vehicles. The bank also improperly denied thousands of mortgage loan modifications to homeowners.
“Wells Fargo’s rinse-repeat cycle of violating the law has harmed millions of American families,” said Rohit Chopra, director of the CFPB, in a statement. – Ken Sweet/Associated Press