Release #06.NWA10
May 3, 2006

Northwest Pilots Ratify Contract

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. -- Northwest pilots, as represented by the Air Line Pilots Association, Int'l (ALPA), voted today to ratify a new 5 1/2 year contract preserving important NWA pilot job protections while reducing pilot costs by $358 million. The concessionary contract designed to help NWA emerge from bankruptcy was approved by a 63.42 percent to 36.58 percent margin. Ninety-five percent of eligible NWA pilots voted.

"The agreement is a painful but necessary part of a successful restructuring of Northwest Airlines," NWA Master Executive Council (MEC) Chairman Capt. Mark McClain said. "Now is the time for Northwest pilots to unite and begin looking forward to our company's successful emergence from bankruptcy."

The new agreement retains the current 23.9 percent pay cut NWA pilots agreed to in November 2005 and provides NWA pilots with significant scope protections against the outsourcing of mainline flying to small jets. NWA pilots successfully retained all flying on 77-seat and higher aircraft while limiting the number of small jets to 55 (or 90 if placed at an affiliate) 51-76 seat aircraft. In addition, NWA pilots receive an $888 million unsecured claim in NWA and participate in profit sharing and success sharing once the company emerges from bankruptcy.

"Our goal in negotiations was to provide contract changes which addressed Northwest's needs, but also provided security for Northwest pilot jobs," Capt. McClain said. "Our negotiators did a remarkable job preventing Northwest management's excessive small-jet demands and retaining merger and fragmentation rights for Northwest pilots."

ALPA and NWA management began negotiations once NWA filed a Section 1113(c) motion with the bankruptcy court on Oct. 12, 2005 to reject all union contracts. The negotiations took place simultaneously with the 1113(c) bankruptcy hearing in New York. Eventually, the negotiations resulted in a tentative agreement March 3, 2006, just prior to a ruling from Bankruptcy Judge Allan Gropper.

The new NWA pilot contract will take effect once IAM and PFAA have new ratified agreements. PFAA is currently voting on its tentative agreement, while the IAM is resuming the 1113(c) hearing on May 15 on the two contracts which were not ratified by their membership.

"Although the past few years have been extremely difficult, Northwest pilots displayed their professionalism each and every day," Capt. McClain said. "At this point, it is incumbent upon Northwest management to not squander our significant sacrifices, but to intelligently pursue a course that enables us to emerge from bankruptcy as a proud and profitable airline."

Founded in 1931, ALPA represents 62,000 pilots at 39 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. ALPA represents approximately 5,000 active NWA pilots and 700 furloughed NWA pilots. Visit the ALPA website at and the NWA ALPA website at

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SOURCE: Air Line Pilots Association
CONTACT: Will Holman (612) 840-7749 or Wade Blaufuss (919) 673-0970