What a Time to Become Northwest's Pilot

Despite threats of a mechanics strike and the choppy economy, new CEO Richard Anderson says: We can weather this just fine

It's a good thing that Richard H. Anderson had been prepping for the top job at Northwest Airlines Inc. (NWAC ) long before he became chief executive officer on Feb. 19. He has taken on a planeload of problems with the new position. As soon as May 11, Northwest could be grounded by striking mechanics. Meanwhile, the airline's larger rivals -- UAL Corp. (UAL ) and AMR Corp. (AMR ) -- could get word within weeks from regulators on their plans to acquire US Airways Group (U ), a deal that industry insiders argue would pressure Northwest to find a merger partner of its own.

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