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DETROIT-Although Northwest Airlines Corp. recently announced it will close facilities around the country to save money, the company will release by July 31 a date when it will open the new Midfield Terminal at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, MI. The $2-billion terminal, featuring more than 72 jet and 25 commuter gates, a silent automated transit system, over 80 shops and restaurants, 106 check-in positions, a 350,000-sf hotel and over 11,000 structured parking spaces, is due to open in December 2001.

The St. Paul, MI-based company says that due to continued soft business travel caused by weakness in the US economy, as well as persistently high fuel costs, it is making $135 million in cost cuts.

In addition to flight schedule reductions and dropping 1,500 employees through attrition and layoffs, cost savings will be realized in other areas. Plans call for the closure of three facilities: reservations centers in New York State and Hawaii and a flight attendant base in Chicago. The Honolulu DC-10 pilot base was closed earlier this year.

However, CEO Richard Anderson says the company remains committed to aggressive plans to modernize hub airport facilities, “especially the new $1.2-billion Detroit Midfield complex,” he says.

The company is building the terminal in a partnership with Wayne County, which owns the airport. Detroit Metro spokesman Mike Conway tells GlobeSt.com Northwest will make an announcement about when the terminal will open sometime in the next 12 days.

“They’ve been saying sometime in December, but we believe they’re going topin down a date,” he says.

The airport was awarded a $28.7-million grant for a wide range of airport improvements, including new terminal construction on the existing Smith, Davey and Barry terminals, which were built between the 1950s and 70s. Wayne officials are working to decide how to best renovate the existing terminals.

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