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Thu, Mar 06, 2008

Reports: Delta, NWA Pilots Meet On Reopening Merger Talks

And If Unnamed Sources Say It, It MUST Be True!

What once was off, may be back on again soon. Pilot union leaders for Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines reportedly met quietly Wednesday, to discuss the possibility of reopening talks on integrating seniority lists should the carriers merge operations.

Citing three unidentified sources (yes, here we go again -- Ed.) The Associated Press reports the meetings included leaders of the respective chapters of the Air Line Pilots Association, but not their negotiating teams. The meeting in Washington, DC marked the first time either side sat down at the bargaining table since February 21.

As ANN reported, merger talks between Delta and Northwest reportedly stalled over the failure of pilots to come to even a tentative agreement over the thorny issue of merging the seniority lists at both carriers. Such an agreement is a significant sticking point, as both sides want to avoid issues down the road.

Delta stresses it will only consider merging with Northwest -- or any other airline, for that matter -- of the seniority of their employees is protected. Northwest executives have also called for seniority issues to be ironed out before formally agreeing to a merger.

Meanwhile, Delta, in particular, continues to take a hard line in maintaining the airline would continue to survive as an independent carrier if talks with Northwest fall apart, adding it isn't necessarily interested in pursuing a backup deal with another carrier.

In comments last week, Delta President and CFO Ed Bastian reiterated his airline expects solid growth for the year, and it has "a great standalone plan."



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