Local News

Northwest Strike Has Little Impact On RDU So Far

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RALEIGH, N.C. — For Northwest Airlines' customers at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Saturday, it was what they were hoping to see at RDU this weekend. The country's fourth largest carrier was flying, despite a strike by mechanics that work for Northwest Airlines.

"I hope everything will go on smoothly, and so far I didn't see any problem at all," traveler Virginia Lomugdang said.

But Lomugdang, who was flying to the Philippines, said she was worried about connecting flights.

"That would be one of my concerns," she said. "You don't want to delay your flight because I'm just staying in Manila for ten days."

The mechanics union is striking because Northwest wants mechanics, cleaners and custodians to take a 25 percent pay cut and the rights to lay off 2,000 workers. Northwest has assured passengers that the work stoppage would not ground flights.

Without union members on the job, some travelers might also have safety concerns. But that's not the case for Dennis Hafeys, who was headed to Indianapolis.

"They're not going to let it in the air unless it's safe," he said.

Northwest offers several flights out of RDU, mostly to hubs in Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis.

A spokeswoman with RDU said Northwest mechanics were contracted out. If planes at RDU need work, she said, they are sent to other airports. That's why airport officials do not expect delays at RDU, she said.

But if connecting cities get backed up, delays may affect some travelers passing through RDU. And some travelers, such as Dennis Hafeys, might resort to plan B.

"Rent a car and go back to Virginia," Hafeys said. "It's not that long of a drive."

According to a travel agent, if the strike forces Northwest to cancel flights, the company would be required by the FAA to offer passengers refunds or find flights on other airlines.


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