The devil in the details.

More news is coming to light about MAC negotiations with Delta Airlines which has taken over Northwest Airlines’ bond debt contractual obligations to the state of Minnesota as a result of the merger.

Seems to be a mixed bag, but leaning toward favorable.

After he appeared before a Minnesota House committee in November, Hirst said that Delta was willing to specify that it would locate certain business activities in the state.

MAC commissioners will receive a term sheet with those entities spelled out. Delta’s commitment to maintain a flight training center and a technology-data center in the Twin Cities will be among the activities listed.

The agreement will specify that Delta must keep those activities for at least three years regardless of business conditions. “That is an absolute guarantee,” Stanoch said. Others that fall under that provision are the Delta North headquarters, regional airline management, Compass and Mesaba Airlines headquarters, pilot and flight attendant bases, reservation centers in Chisholm and the Twin Cities and hub airport operations.

Note, even after three years, the only way they could be moved would be if the businesses were discontinued or completely outsourced.  That’s good.  They also increase the guaranteed daily flights from MSP to 400 – which frankly is already average for the airline, but it means they won’t be cutting service back.

What on earth does “north headquarters” mean, and is it in any way something meaningful to the “Minnesota brand” – the type of loss the original covenant was supposed to be protecting?

10,000 guaranteed jobs is good in this economy, until you realize that’s 40 percent below where we were sixteen years ago.  Couldn’t the new, significantly larger company match the old number?

Moving the management of regional carriers, increased local flight schedule, maintenance of data centers, contact centers, training operations, etc. all bode well.

All things considered, it’s probably better than we expected to see.

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