Top political leaders discuss potential Northwest merger

Plane at gate
A Northwest Airlines plane at the gate at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
MPR file photo

There's increasing speculation Northwest and Delta airlines may soon announce they're combining. And that's why Gov. Tim Pawlenty met Thursday with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar and staffers from U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman's office.

They discussed strategies to protect Minnesota's interests if there's a merger. Pawlenty spokesman Brian McClung says the governor has already told Northwest the state could give the arline financial incentives in return for air service and job guarantees.

"We have essentially said to them the state would like to know what additional steps we can take to ensure continued operations, and a high level presence in Minnesota. And we continue to be interested in exploring that," said McClung.

So far, Northwest has not asked for anything. Over the years, the state and Metropolitan Airports Commission have provided the airline big financial aid packages.

Northwest employs 12,000 people in Minnesota. And the airline took about 25 million passengers through the Twin Cities airport in 2007.

Create a More Connected Minnesota

MPR News is your trusted resource for the news you need. With your support, MPR News brings accessible, courageous journalism and authentic conversation to everyone - free of paywalls and barriers. Your gift makes a difference.