NWA pilots' union leaders haven't given up merger hopes

Lined up
Northwest Airlines aircraft sit at the terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport Monday in Romulus, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

Union leaders for the Northwest pilots say arbitration could settle a dispute between Northwest and Delta pilots about how to merge seniority lists. The seniority issue seems to be the only roadblock to a merger that would create the world's biggest airline.

The Northwest pilots' union says the two airlines would be wise to encourage both pilot groups to support expedited arbitration.

But the leader of the Delta pilots union has apparently already rejected the option of arbitration.

He's said leaving the decision to an arbitrator represents an abdication of leadership.

A person familiar with the merger talks said it still seems possible to get a merger deal done with the pilots involvement. But the source said the two airlines' boards also could move forward with a deal without a pilot agreement on seniority.

No decision has been made at this time, however.

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