Bankrupt Northwest threatens to drop Mesaba Avro RJs

Northwest Airlines, which recently filed for bankruptcy, has advised Mesaba that it intends to reject the leases on its 35 Avro RJ85s. Northwest leases the RJ85s from various financial institutions, and sub-leases them to Mesaba, who operates them under the Northwest Airlink banner. Under Chapter 11, bankrupt companies can terminate contracts and leases with the court’s permission. Northwest has directed Mesaba to park nine RJ85s by 31 October, and the remaining 26 by 20 December. Mesaba has also been told to park ten of the 65 Saab 340s it operates on Northwest Airlink services, and that it would not be receiving 13 un-delivered Bombardier CRJs. Some analysts speculate that the move is intended to put pressure on lessors to agree to lower lease rates. Mesaba’s contract to operate the RJ85s had only recently been extended as part of a broader 10-year agreement with Northwest.

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