Today in the Fortune 500: Jet-leasing fuels Boeing sales, no New Year’s deal for Comcast and AIG loses ground in worker’s comp probe.

December 23, 2010, 6:35 PM UTC
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The Fortune 500 comes out just once a year, but the companies on it make headlines every day. Here then are today’s highlights of news and happenings coming from the biggest names in business.

By Shelley DuBois, reporter

IT’S A RENTER’S ECONOMY for aircraft, that is. Air travel is picking up in general, but the return of jet-leasing is also helping companies such as Airbus and Boeing (BA) get back in the black. Jet-leasing firms account for 21% of orders placed at Boeing this year, almost double the percentage from last year. The two aircraft companies said that lessors, unlike airlines, aren’t tied down to fixed routes, and can adjust their business more easily to meet consumer demand. [Wall Street Journal]

AIRCRAFT EXPORTERS NEED CREDIT TOO, the French government said. Boeing and Airbus merchandise is in high global demand these days, but the countries where they manufacture had been at a slight disadvantage because two aircraft-making countries selling to each other didn’t used to be eligible for export credit. The French government praised a move by the Boeing and Airbus to agree on export credits, even when selling to another nation that makes aircraft. [Reuters]

COMCAST’S NEW YEARS RESOLUTION FOR THE FCC No Comcast-NBC deal will take place in 2010, according to a memo sent to staff by Comcast (CMCSA) CEO Jeffrey Zucker. Instead, the cable company will have to wait to purchase 51% stake of NBC from GE (GE) until the new year, when Comcast works through exactly what its willing to concede to the Federal Communications Commission and Justice Department. [New York Times]

BUILT FORD SAFE The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety issued it’s rankings of the safest cars. Hundai, Kia and Volkswagen topped the list with nine picks each, but General Motors (GM), Ford (F) and Toyota (TM) followed close behind with eight. Ford, in fact, is redesigning old car models, like its Explorer, to meet IIHS standards. [USA Today]

PROBE DOESN’T GO WELL FOR AIG The insurer will pay over $146 million to settle an investigation into the company’s alleged practice of cheating state-run funds set up to give workers last resort insurance against work-related injuries. This concession could compensate AIG’s position in the ongoing $1 billion lawsuit filed against the company by rival insurers, who have accused AIG (AIG) of under-reporting premiums made by selling insurance for worker’s comp. [Bloomberg Businessweek]

IS IT OVER YET? Some businesses are still paying for some combination of massive mistakes, PR blunders and bummers of external forces that made 2010 a rough year. Among, them, of course,  is BP (BP), whose tone-deaf PR made a tragic situation much worse. Others on the list include Toyota, Rolls-Royce and the Heathrow Airport. [BBC]