Delta Air Lines Inc. and Northwest Airlines Corp. have spent the last week readying their long-delayed merger announcement, with the aim of unveiling it as early as Tuesday, said people familiar with the matter.
They could go ahead without the support of Delta’s 6,000 pilots. Delta and its pilots remained in talks over the weekend on a new post-merger contract that would cover that group only, leaving negotiations with Northwest’s 5,000 pilots for a later day, these people said.
That approach, not the one Delta and Northwest executives originally had hoped to take, risks acrimony between the pilot groups and management distractions just when the two carriers would embark on a lengthy antitrust review of the merger by the Justice Department.
The deal still could run aground or be delayed because of disagreements between the two carriers or between them and their labor groups. Other issues to be resolved over the weekend were a couple of key deal terms that earlier had been decided were being reappraised in light of the deteriorating financial conditions plaguing the industry, said one person with knowledge of the situation.
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Folks, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’ll believe it when I see it. That’s not to say I don’t think it’ll happen, but just to say that I’m getting a bit tired of all the speculation. ‘Nuff said.