Delta pilots close to new deal clearing way for NWA merger

Delta Air Lines
Pilots at Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, appear close to agreeing to a merger with Northwest Airlines.
David McNew/Getty Images

Delta Air Lines appears to be close to getting its pilots' support for a merger with Northwest Airlines. And that could mean a merger of Northwest and Delta airlines may be announced early next week.

A person with knowledge of the talks between Delta and its pilots said a deal involving pay raises is pretty much worked out. The source said it's only a matter of polishing the language and running the agreement by lawyers.

Neither Delta or Northwest airlines would comment on the status of talks with the Delta pilots. And the airlines would not say anything about the prospects for an imminent announcement of a merger.

Delta's apparent deal with its pilots includes pay raises, though less generous ones than were offered months ago.

But the deal, as it now stands, would not resolve Delta pilots' concerns about merging their seniority list with the seniority list for Northwest pilots.

That has been the what's holding up a deal.

If the Northwest and Delta pilots can't resolve their differences on seniority list integration, the issue would go to arbitration.

Sources say that while it looks like a deal may finally get done, it could also fall apart once again.

For their part, officials with Northwest's pilots union said they are unaware of any developments in merger talks at this time. The union said it will withhold any comment until details are confirmed.

But the union also signalled it isn't happy being cut out of talks between Delta the Delta pilots. The Northwest pilots' union said "any negotiations that do not involve all parties are rarely successful."

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