Fri, Mar 18, 2005
Airline: 800 More Cuts Could Follow
Northwest Airlines says it's
grounded two dozen of its aircraft and laid off 130 mechanics. The
airline said it's now looking at further downsizing its technical
workforce and could soon lay off another 700-800 mechanics.
Ironically, most of the aircraft grounded are
McDonnell Douglas DC-9s. Just a month ago, ANN reported that these
aging aircraft made Northwest's one of the oldest fleets in
commercial aviation. The problem is, they're...
well... gas hogs. With fuel prices at record levels and showing no
sign of moderating, the DC-9s, though practical in some ways, have
simply become too expensive to operate.
The 130 mechanics laid off from the company's Minneapolis-St.
Paul, MN, hub, were generally associated with maintaining the
DC-9s. In contrast, Northwest's newer Airbus A319s are about
30-percent more fuel efficient. The airline says it will close the
heavy maintenance shop at Minneapolis-St. Paul International
The move comes as Northwest and its mechanics' union are in
contract negotiations. Local union president Ted Ludwig said the
threat of up to 800 more mechanic layoffs may be nothing more than
a negotiating tactic. Still, since 2000, the airline has laid off a
total of 3,700 mechanics.
The ALPA says grounding the 24 aircraft means about 60 NWA
pilots who were to be recalled will remain on furlough.
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