The comments came during legislative hearings Friday into Delta's plan to buy Northwest. Northwest Senior Vice President Ben Hirst said Delta has committed to retaining significant jobs, facilities and operations in Minnesota.
"That's a broad phrase, and it doesn't have any meaning yet. But I do think it's very realistic to consider speaking with Delta and negotiating with Delta," Hirst said. "You have the leverage of the government toward the establishment of executive offices for very significant airline operations."
Hirst said Delta can escape Northwest's commitment to keep the company headquarters in Minnesota simply by paying off $212 million in bonds. The company would also potentially give up more than $200 million in rent and lease discounts at the Twin Cities airport.