Northwest Airlines needs a hug.
–Their mechanics union walked away from negotiations yesterday, saying that the carrier is refusing to negotiate. Unless there’s a last-minute change of heart, mechanics will strike in the next month. That said, the airline has 1,000 replacement mechanics lined up to keep its planes in the air.
–Lowfare juggernaut AirTran is launching service to Detroit for the first time with nonstop flights to Orlando and Atlanta, with flights to Sarasota being added in February. The interesting part is that this is exactly the same strategy that Northwest has used in Indianapolis and Milwaukee—try to drive out the incumbent carrier by offering low fares on leisure routes. It worked for them, and may now work against them, too.