Delta Closes Northwest Facility, But Heavy Costs Still Loom

Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) said Thursday it is closing a Northwest Airlines facility in an effort to save cash amid skyrocketing oil costs that have already forced it to cut capacity and lay off employees.

Delta said it is on the hook for $175 million in loans tied to a bailout of Northwest many years ago because it is closing pilot and flight attendant training centers in Minnesota, where Northwest was based.

Delta, which has been reeling under higher fuel costs that have already forced it to dramatically cut capacity, raise fees and reduce its workforce, said it is closing the facility to save cash. The divestiture ends Deltas commitment to repay Northwests bailout in the early 1990s.

The company saw heavy criticism on Wednesday when it charged 34 soldiers returning from Afghanistan as much as $2,800 in baggage fees. Delta changed the policy a day later following public outrage sparked by a video posted on YouTube by two of the soldiers.

Delta released a statement on Thursday publicly apologizing for any miscommunication regarding its policies and for any inconveniences it may have caused. After reviewing the situation, the airline decided it would allow troops to check four bags for free instead of three.

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