Pilot Shortage Cancels Northwest Flights

Oct. 11, 2006
About 4,700 pilots currently fly for the carrier.

The pilots union for Northwest Airlines said Friday the carrier has been canceling some of its domestic flights because of a pilot shortage.

The airline did not comment on the staffing issue. Neither Northwest nor the pilots union would specify the number of flights affected.

The problem affects DC-9 flights, the Star Tribune reported on its Web site Friday. Northwest owns 105 DC-9s, and they constitute about a fifth of its fleet.

The cancellations come as about 700 Northwest pilots are on furloughs. The airline flew 5.6 percent fewer seat-miles during September, compared with a year ago.

The Air Line Pilots Association said Friday that "unwise management decisions to furlough the last group (of pilots) in January" contributed to the shortage.

In August, the Northwest pilots union was told the airline intended to recall 40 to 50 pilots this year. About 4,700 pilots currently fly for the carrier.

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