AIRLINES: Northwest Goes Dutch

AIRLINES: Northwest Goes Dutch

Should foreign airlines be allowed to hold major stakes in U.S. carriers? The old answer, motivated by national pride and security concerns, was no. The new answer, influenced by the dire financial condition of many U.S. airlines, is yes -- within limits. Last week Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner increased the allowable size of a foreign carrier's stake in a U.S. airline to 49% of equity, up from 25%.

The plan is intended to help infuse struggling U.S. airlines with capital at a time when they are suffering from recession, a wartime travel slump and high fuel costs. Earlier this month, cash-starved...

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