Is Northwest Airlines cleared for takeoff? The carrier finally may be close to a solution to its financial woes. On May 3, its two largest unions agreed to $480 million in concessions over three years in exchange for 15% of the company's common equity and one seat each on its board, say informed sources. Now the troubled carrier hopes the Air Line Pilots Assn. will agree to 10% of the carrier's equity in exchange for some $100 million in wage cuts. If that flies, Northwest could reach its target of $300 million a year in savings, possibly allowing it to reschedule its debt and avoid bankruptcy.

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