Northwest Airlines and the US Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) were due to be joined by a representative of US President Bill Clinton yesterday as negotiations resumed to resolve the dispute between the carrier and its striking pilots.

After a break for the Labour Day holiday, the federally mediated talks were set to take up where they left off - which means that the two sides will not meet face to face unless they can be coaxed back to the negotiating table.

Though a representative of the White House was to attend for the first time, Byron Dorgan - a senator for strike-crippled North Dakota - says Clinton has indicated that he is not yet ready to exercise his full authority and order a 60-day cooling off period.

The president could in theory order the pilots back to work if he decides that the strike poses a substantial economic threat that could deprive a given region of a key transportation service.

A spokesman for the White House says Clinton remains hopeful that the two parties will reach a consensus without the need for his intervention.

As a result of the disruption Northwest has cancelled its domestic flights until Thursday, 10 September, while inbound flights from Europe and Asia and flights within Asia have been cancelled until 12 September.

Some 27,700 Northwest employees have been laid off as a result of the strike, which centres on pay and job security issues.

Source: Flight Daily News