Northwest Airlines announces more cuts in flight capacity

Passengers at MSP
Passengers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport.
MPR photo/Tom Weber

(AP) - Northwest Airlines said it will cut its capacity later this year by 3 percent to 4 percent because of high fuel prices. That's a larger cut than it had announced previously.

"In response to these extraordinary fuel costs, we are taking prudent actions to reduce our capacity and right-size the airline," said CEO Doug Steenland. "This will allow us to better match our capacity to customer demand as airfares, by necessity, must increase."

Northwest says it expects to reduce its mainline flying by as much as 9.5 percent compared with its flying a year ago.

Steenland added, "No domestic station closures are planned as a result of these capacity reductions. Instead, we will pare unprofitable flying while maintaining the scope and presence of our network."

Steenland says the airline says it will try to shrink its staff through voluntary means, but layoffs are possible, too. The airline says it has not yet finalized the number of positions it wants to eliminate.

Most airlines have been announcing capacity reductions because of sharp rises in fuel prices.

Steenland maintains that the threat of high fuel prices makes the planned merger with Delta Air Lines a stronger option than ever.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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