The Association of U S West Retirees



NWA pension freeze allowed
Judge lowers payments also

By Aleksandrs Rozens, Associated Press
St Paul Pioneer Press
February 1, 2006

NEW YORK A New York bankruptcy judge Tuesday allowed Northwest Airlines Corp. to freeze its pilot pension plan and approved the carrier's request to negotiate lower lease and loan payments for certain aircraft.

The carrier, which filed for bankruptcy protection in September, and its pilots union, the Air Line Pilots Association, agreed to the freeze of the defined benefit plan.  The creditors committee also came out in support of the freeze, effective today, in court.

The pilots now will get a defined contribution plan, the details of which are still being hashed out between ALPA and Northwest.

The airline is seeking $1.4 billion in annual savings from its labor unions.

A court hearing on Northwest's request to reject its contracts with pilots and flight attendants is expected to resume today.

Kurt Ebenhoch, spokesman for Eagan-based Northwest, declined to say how much the airline would save from the pension freeze.  The company's salaried employees saw their pension plans frozen in August.

The airline also received court approval to lower lease and loan payments for certain planes by renegotiating their terms.  The carrier's spokesman declined comment on how much Northwest will save through the renegotiation of the leases and loan payments.