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Unions approve new contracts with Mesaba Aviation

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Mesaba Saab turboprop aircraft
A Saab turboprop aircraft at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, part of the Mesaba fleet.
MPR Photo/Jeff Horwich

(AP) - Unions at Mesaba Aviation Inc. said Monday they have approved new concessionary contracts with the bankrupt airline, a Northwest Airlines feeder.

      About 1,000 pilots, flight attendants and mechanics are covered by the contracts, which took nearly a year to reach and brought the unions to the brink of a strike.

      Mesaba said it needed the labor deals to continue handling regional flying for Northwest Airlines Corp., which also is operating in bankruptcy. Mesaba earlier got permission from a bankruptcy judge to impose cuts amounting to 17.5 percent, but held off as the two sides continued bargaining.

      Union leaders said the negotiated agreements were better than the terms that would've been imposed.

      Mesaba flies to 88 cities, funneling passengers into Northwest hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis. Its fleet once numbered about 100 planes, including regional jets, but Northwest has reduced that to 49 prop-driven Saab aircraft.

                   (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)