Meanwhile, a flight attendants union spokesman Tuesday said members are expressing concern about the safety of the carrier's planes.
Members of the Professional Flight Attendants Association are calling union offices with comments about some work being done by the mechanics' replacements, spokesman Bob Krabbe said Tuesday. Members have made hundreds of calls, complaining that some of the airline's replacements don't know how to make some repairs and that delays are frustrating customers, Krabbe said.
"Many of our people have called in and said: 'We're concerned about flying on these aircraft,' " Krabbe said. The union represents about 9,700 flight attendants, and voted last week to keep working as mechanics went on strike.
The airline still is in negotiations with its other unions, including the flight attendants, as it tries to lower labor costs by $1.1 billion annually and avert a bankruptcy filing.
Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch said the company wasn't aware of the flight attendants' reports, but said replacement workers are "experienced and highly qualified professionals."
An Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman said the carrier's contingency plan has posed no safety issues.
According to the FAA, 80 inspectors have been assigned specifically to Northwest with a pool of additional inspectors available if needed.
"Everything is going well, from a safety standpoint," said Elizabeth Isham Cory, a spokeswoman for the FAA. "We are pleased with what we are seeing."
A safety operations center set up by the Air Line Pilots Association, Northwest's pilots union, about a month before the strike is taking about 20 calls a day from members who have questions or concerns about maintenance, said union spokesman Will Holman. He couldn't say whether that number had increased since the strike started.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press
Northwest Airlines Corp. is recruiting replacement flight attendants in case of a labor dispute or strike, even as negotiations with its flight attendants' union continue.
The airline's board of directors will meet today to discuss a possible bankruptcy filing, according to unions for Northwest's flight attendants and pilots.