Pinnacle shares fall on news of NWA bid request
MINNEAPOLIS – Northwest Airlines Corp. has requested bids for flying some of its smaller jets, prompting a sell-off of the shares of regional partner Pinnacle Airlines Corp.Pinnacle said it and other companies it didn’t name have been asked by Northwest to submit proposals for operating regional jets up to 76 seats. The request was for a fleet comparable to Pinnacle’s, the company said.Pinnacle and MAIR Holdings Inc.’s Mesaba Airlines operate “Northwest Airlink” flights that feed passengers into Northwest hubs. Northwest filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 14, and Mesaba followed on Oct. 13.”It is unclear at this time what the intentions of Northwest might be as to the operation of its Airlink system, and as to Pinnacle in particular, in the context of its overall planning for emergence from bankruptcy,” Pinnacle said in the filing.Pinnacle spokesman Phil Reed said on Monday that Pinnacle will bid for the work. It has been flying for Northwest for 20 years.”I can’t think of anyone out there who has lower costs than we do,” he said.Mesaba spokeswoman Elizabeth Costello said, “I think it’s fair to say we’re going to pursue it.” She said the Northwest request included a confidentiality clause, so she couldn’t discuss it further.The news, disclosed late Friday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, sent Pinnacle shares down 53 cents, or 8 percent, to close at $6.06 Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market.Northwest spokesman Kurt Ebenhoch declined to comment.