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NEW KLM-NWA PACT MAY BE NEAR

 DALLAS, Nov. 16 ~PRNewswire~ -- Northwest Airlines announced today it hopes to conclude a highly conditional agreement with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines this week that is expected to involve KLM's participation in a $300 million "special term loan," KLM sources tell the trade journal Commercial Aviation Report.
 Northwest declines comment.
 NWA asked its lending syndicate on Nov. 6 for the loan after KLM's supervisory board blocked a proposed investment in NWA negotiated by KLM Chairman Pieter Bouw. The collapse of that deal has triggered a crisis at Northwest, prompting the request for the one year $300 million loan. Lead lender Bankers Trust Company pledged $50 million to the loan, but none of the other syndicate banks stepped up and so far appear to be resisting the idea. A Nov. 27 deadline has been set to receive bank commitments for the request.
 In seeking a new agreement with KLM, parties apparently hope to entice the banks to participate, say those familiar with the talks. KLM's possible participation is described as modest and subject to many conditions, including labour concessions, changes in NWA's management and a host of other conditions.
 A KLM source tells the magazine that officials view its Northwest connection as KLM's last chance to become a global player in the era of mega-carriers, and intends to play out this hand if certain conditions can be met.
 Although KLM's own public and investor relations departments denied the existence of any deal for a new investment into the financially ailing Northwest, first reported by Commercial Aviation Report on Nov. 2, senior KLM officials familiar with the negotiations and board deliberations tell the magazine that opposition blocked the deal negotiated by KLM Chairman Pieter Bouw. The election of Bill Clinton as the next U.S. president also helped tipped the scales against the deal.
 Senior KLM sources confirm that Bouw was ready to recommend a fresh investment in Northwest but ran into heavy opposition on the board from a number of directors, including those representing the Dutch government, trade unions and even, according to these same sources, his own financial management.
 A meeting of the KLM supervisory board on Nov. 5 agreed to delay further action on Northwest, as reported by Commercial Aviation Report.
 The KLM senior sources say that the plan to increase KLM's voting rights in Northwest to 40 percent in return for the cash injection had been agreed by both carriers, and given the quiet go-ahead by the Bush Administration.
 "Indications that the Bush White House would give the OK to a British Airways~USAir deal before Christmas encouraged us to gain similar presidential approval," says the senior KLM source.
 "However, the election of Gov. Bill Clinton has made the U.S. aeropolitical scene uncertain and suggests such a move on our part would be subject to delay or prevention, regardless of the financial considerations."
 Following the collapse of the original deal, negotiations immediately resumed for a revised financial aid package.
 -0- 11~16~92
 ~CONTACT: Scott Hamilton of Commercial Aviation Report, 214-484-9500~


CO: Northwest Airlines; KLM Royal Dutch Airlines ST: Texas IN: AIR SU:

WB -- NY113 -- 1470 11~16~92 16:36 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 16, 1992
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