Monday, April 14, 2008

Delta-Northwest Merger Talks Pick Up Pace Again


Merger talks between Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines picked up pace again on Sunday, and people briefed on the negotiations said an announcement of a deal could come as soon as Tuesday.

The two companies have seemed on the verge of announcing a deal several times in recent months — raising hopes among some investors and worrying those concerned about loss of competition among airlines — only to back away from a merger.

During that period, the airline business has deteriorated sharply. Record-high fuel prices have sent a handful of smaller carriers into bankruptcy in recent weeks. The latest was Frontier Airlines on Friday.

Some analysts now expect the industry to lose money this year after two years that were mostly profitable. And the slowing economy is making it hard for airlines to raise fares to cover fuel costs.

A representative at Delta could not be reached and a Northwest spokesman declined to more

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