Delta Air Lines is seeking to renegotiate a $245 million bond agreement that dates back to the early 1990s, when the state of Minnesota bailed out a struggling Northwest Airlines, now a Delta subsidiary. Delta has vowed to repay the debt, but under current covenants the entire amount will come due in 2012 if Delta closes Northwest's headquarters in Eagan, Minn., as planned. Delta wants to guarantee a continued hub in Minneapolis, along with guaranteed staffing levels, in exchange for extending the repayment deadline. "Delta's in a position to redeem the bonds but would prefer not to," says General Counsel Ben Hirst. "From the state's standpoint, as long as the bonds are outstanding, there's a hub covenant in place and a jobs covenant in place."
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