DoL Hearing to Examine NW Airlines Stock Contribution

May 2, 2003 ( - A public hearing is set for next week in Washington to hear testimony about a Northwest Airlines request for an ERISA exemption to contribute stock instead of cash to three retirement plans.

The US Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) will conduct sessions on May 5 and May 6 beginning at 9:30 a.m.   The company has been seeking government approval to contribute shares of Pinnacle Airlines Corp. common stock instead of cash to its underfunded pension plans. According to a March filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the company has already contributed 12.9% of Pinnacle stock or 1.9 million shares to the funds (See  Northwest Completes Pension Stock Transfer ).   

The St. Paul, Minnesota airline said its 2003 pension contributions are estimated to be $468 million. As of December 31, the plans were underfunded by about $3.1 billion, according to the regulatory filing.

The  sessions will be in Room N3437A/B at 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC.