Northwest to Buy Regional Jets

The carrier will acquire 72 new aircraft for flights between hubs and smaller cities.
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Northwest Airlines


said Thursday that it has ordered 72 new regional jets that will be used on flights between its hubs and smaller cities.

The airline said it will place firm orders for 36 Bombardier CRJ900 jets and 36 Embraer 175 aircraft, with initial deliveries expected in the second quarter of 2007. Both planes will accommodate 76 passengers in two-class configurations. Northwest also received options for additional planes from both manufacturers.

"Both new aircraft types will lower Northwest's operating costs over the aircraft they replace, such as the Avro Regional Jet 85, through a combination of significantly lower fuel consumption along with inherent maintenance cost advantages," said CEO Doug Steenland. The values of the orders were not disclosed.

Northwest said regional subsidiary Compass Airlines will operate the Embraers, while the Bombardier operator will be determined. Northwest also said an agreement with Bombardier and others means it will return 15 previously rejected CRJ200 aircraft to the Northwest Airlink fleet, which will total 141 aircraft.

The agreements are subject to the bankruptcy court approval. At the conclusion of its bankruptcy case, Northwest will issue new stock. As commonly occurs in Chapter 11 situations, the existing shares will be rendered worthless, and they will no longer trade.