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Northwest profitable with oil at $100 - CEO

Oct 01, 2008

Northwest Airlines Corp, which is set to be acquired by Delta Airlines, can be profitable with oil at $100 per barrel, Doug Steenland, the company's chief executive, said on Wednesday.

Despite the turmoil in credit markets, Steenland said he was confident the merged airline would have sufficient liquidity to manage its operations well into the future, noting that the airline would have $6 billion in cash on closing.

"Our bookings have been keeping pace with our anticipation," Steenland said at a news conference in Tokyo.

"But obviously we are concerned and mindful of whether we will see impacts coming from challenges in financial markets and contractions of credit over months ahead."

Crude oil was trading at about $101 on Wednesday, well off the record high above $147 reached in July.

Northwest is in the process of being acquired by Delta to form the world's largest carrier. Regulatory approval for the deal, which has been approved by shareholders, is expected by the end of the year.

The new airline -- the world's largest by traffic -- is to be called Delta and have its headquarters in Atlanta.

Northwest profitable with oil at $100 - CEO
Doug Steenland /

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