YOu all are missing the point... which isn't surprising given the misleading article that spawned this thread.
The NWA pilots are the ones that want this, since it is already in their current contract. It's just enforcing their own job protection. They also recognize that it can't happen at current pay rates, so they're proposing essentially a "B" scale rate for the proposed 70 seat jets. What this mean is a competive rate of pay with respect to other 70 seat operators (Mesaba, ASA, Comair, Eagle etc...). It would initially be staffed with furloughed NWA pilots and would be mainline a/c on the NWA certificate, therefore flying as Northwest Airlines. Nowhere in the proposal does it say Airlink rampers, agents and FAs would be used. There would be 401K matching, but no pension until you progressed back into the "A" scale equipment (Dc9 , airbus etc...) and while no details were given, I'm sure some work rule enhancements would be apart of the deal.
If the rates can be competitive enough for the NWA pilots to pull this off, I don't see how NWA mgmt wouldn't go for the deal. I wouldnt be surprised if this actually happend. Unfortunately, I think this would spell the end of the avros once the contract is up in 2007. One other thing, the proposal also includes provisions for Mesaba and Pinnacle pilots to "flow up" into mainline, thus securing career progression for the Airlink pilots.
The biggest question is what type of a/c is NWA interested in? IMO, the EMB series would be the best fit. Start with the 170 and as the DC9s retire the EMB190/195 can complement their little brothers. This secures NWA with a mainline fleet of narrowbody a/c in the 70-224 categories to further right size their markets and match capasity to demand.
By the way, the title of the thread is awful. It leads people to believe that pay cuts will afford them the right to fly 70 seat a/c. That is 100% incorrect. Why? THEY ALREADY HAVE THE RIGHT TO FLY 70 SEAT AC! In fact, NWA pilots own the right to fly all a/c with 55 seats or more. Except the avros that were grandfathered into their current contract signed in 1998 that can only be flown by Mesaba with Mesaba pilots.
[Edited 2004-07-28 23:23:52]