Live to fly another day

Michigan State Roundup

Published January 1, 2007  | January 2007 issue

Airline service in the Upper Peninsula got at least a temporary booster shot when Mesaba announced that it had reached contract agreements with its three largest unions to cut wages and benefits to keep the airline flying.

The airline, which operates as a Northwest partner, followed Northwest into bankruptcy last October and had been negotiating with its unions for major concessions to lower operating costs. The airline flies to 88 destinations—including Marquette, Houghton and Sault Ste. Marie in the U.P.—from hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis and Memphis.

In the end, the unions for flight attendants, mechanics and pilots all agreed to cuts of 15 percent to wages and benefits. The agreement came in part because Mesaba had received permission earlier from the bankruptcy court to impose compensation cuts of up to 17.5 percent. The airline also saw its fleet of planes shrink to 55, or about half of its prebankruptcy level. It's unknown how the reduced fleet will affect flight schedules in the U.P.

Ronald A. Wirtz