Delta Air Lines could cut as many as two regional carriers when its merger with Northwest Airlines is complete, increasing the pressure on contract carriers to improve their on-time performance if they hope to survive. Delta told the CEOs of each partner airline, "Look, here are the minimum requirements you will have to fulfill to be in the Delta Connection program," according to Delta Connection senior vice president Don Bornhorst. Delta already has moved to terminate or alter contracts with Pinnacle Airlines and Freedom Airlines, though some of those actions have been delayed, negotiated or challenged in court.

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