Flying the turbulent, merging skies

Minnesota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2008  | September 2008 issue

Almost no industry has been hit harder by rising fuel costs than airlines. But workers at Northwest Airlines are getting the double whammy of late, thanks to the expected merger with Delta Airlines, which will be voted on by shareholders in late September.

About one-third of Northwest’s 31,000 employees work at the company’s headquarters in Eagan. The merged airline will be headquartered in Atlanta. Some operations and staff will remain in Eagan, some jobs will move to Atlanta and some will be cut.

If the merger is approved as expected, it will marry two money-losing airlines, both of whom announced big layoffs and other cost-cutting moves over the summer. Northwest slashed unprofitable routes, taking about 2,500 jobs with them.

Northwest isn’t the only airline trying to pull out of a crash landing. Sun Country Airlines, headquartered in Mendota Heights, petitioned the state Legislature for $50 million in state and regional aid, possibly in the form of a guaranteed loan.

Ronald A. Wirtz