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Tue, Apr 08, 2008

Reports: Delta, NWA Merger Talks Back On, Again

Carriers Opt To Pursue Deal Without Pilot OK

Here we go again... somebody, grab the popcorn. Reuters reports Delta Air Lines has agreed to revive stalled merger talks with Northwest Airlines, even without an agreement between pilot groups at the two companies on seniority integration issues.

The news service quotes an unnamed person briefed on the situation.

The report follows a meeting of Delta's directors, convened on Friday. As ANN reported, Northwest is said to have urged Delta late last month to consider renewed talks.

The merger would create the world's largest airline, with a combined pilot workforce of 12,000. That figure would almost certainly be pared down through post-merger layoffs, however.

The two pilot groups, both represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, declared the merger dead last month, after failing to reach agreement on how to integrate the two groups, despite a reported offer from the airlines to increase pay and provide stock to pilots as incentives.

Seniority determines pilots' pay, and priority in bidding for work schedules and aircraft flown.

Reuters cites its unnamed source in reporting other details of a merger agreement were finalized by both airlines last month, but will need to be revisited now that oil prices have continued to rise.

Both Delta and Northwest have so far declined official comment.



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