Also Announces Management Shakeup
Saying the decision is
part of its debt and lease restructuring efforts, Northwest
Airlines said Tuesday it had reached an agreement to sell nine of
its Airbus A319s... some of the newest planes in its fleet.
"The process for closing each of these sales is underway," said
Northwest spokesman Darren Shannon. According to the Minneapolis
Star Tribune, he refused to identify a buyer or name a purchase
price and linked the deal to the carrier's "successful debt and
lease restructuring efforts while in Chapter 11."
As ANN has reported, it
hasn't been easy being Northwest lately. Last month crew shortages
forced the cancellation of 12 percent of its schedule. The carrier
also plans to cut flights and perhaps hire more pilots to prevent
future pilot shortages, according to Bloomberg.
NWA pilot's union told reporters it was concerned about the
decision, which leaves the carrier with 56 A319s.
"Northwest needs the revenue that could be gained by using these
fuel-efficient aircraft," Monty Montgomery, a spokesman for the
Northwest branch of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), said.
The planes could still be flown "under our current contract with
sufficient [pilot] staffing."
Tim Rainey, Northwest's senior vice president overseeing flight
operations, notified ALPA in March about plans to phase out the
A319s, as well as thin its number of geriatric DC-9s from 115 to
93, according to the union. The carrier has yet to decide upon a
ALPA's negotiations committee said in early April, "It makes
little sense to us that, in the profit making environment Northwest
is now in, this management team is making decisions that limit
those profits by selling 319s and not using [company] owned
The carrier wouldn't say which cities would be affected by the
cuts in the fleet, according to the Tribune.
It's unclear at this point if this decision has anything to do
with the executive shakeup in its airport affairs and finance
departments announced Wednesday.
The carrier said two executive appointments would result from an
apparent surprise re-retirement of a "key" executive who was
instrumental in the design and construction of nearly $3 billion of
facilities, including the 125-gate Northwest WorldGateway Terminal
at Detroit Metro Airport, and in restructuring the airline's real
estate portfolio in bankruptcy.
Jim Greenwald, vice
president of facilities and airport affairs, has elected to retire,
again, effective July 31. He rejoined NWA in December 2005 to
assist the company in its restructuring efforts after having
previously retired in early 2005.
Barry Hofer, vice president of financial planning &
analysis, will replace Greenwald and will be responsible for
negotiation of all airport leases, corporate real estate, and
worldwide design and construction programs.
Managing Director of Financial Planning and Analysis Terry
Mackenthun, has been named vice president of financial planning
& analysis, succeeding Hofer.
Northwest projected in a bankruptcy court filing earlier this
year flying done by regional partners is expected to grow rapidly,
by at least 16.9 percent a year, the carrier said.
NWA subsidiaries, Mesaba and Compass airlines, will reportedly
operate 36 new 76-seat regional jets each.
"You are going to see movement from 100- to 130-seat jets down
to the new 76-seat jets that they just started receiving," senior
research analyst at Thrivent Investment Management Bill Hochmuth
"Passengers better get used to flying in regional jets."