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Northwest may get out of headquarters deal

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Northwest Airlines would get out of its agreement to keep its headquarters here under a tentative agreement between the Minneapolis airport and Northwest's new corporate parent, Delta Air Lines.

Under the agreement, Atlanta-based Delta would eventually pay as much as an additional $1 million per year in rent and promise to keep jobs and flights in Minneapolis at close to current levels, airport spokesman Patrick Hogan said.

Agreements dating to 1992 gave the Metropolitan Airports Commission the power to demand immediate repayment of some $245 million in bonds it issued on Northwest's behalf, if the airline broke its promise to keep a headquarters here. The commission could also have revoked a rent reduction worth $1.9 million per year along with as much as $10 million per year in revenue-sharing from the sale of items like food and parking.

Portions of the agreements were negotiated as recently as last year, while Northwest reorganized under bankruptcy protection. The agreement has been politically touchy in Minnesota, where some believed Northwest was trying to wriggle out of promises it made in the early 1990s, when it needed state help.

Delta Air Lines Inc. closed its purchase of Northwest on Oct. 29.