Delta Union Critical of Hedge Fund Pushing For Merger

ATLANTA (AP) _ The head of Delta's pilots union says the airline should NOT be forced into a merger with United by a hedge fund he
believes is only interested in short-term financial gain.

In a letter to pilots, Lee Moak, chairman of the union's executive committee, tries to sharpen the union's position at a time when high fuel prices and some investors are putting pressure on airlines to consolidate to reduce costs.

The letter yesterday also was a rebuke of Pardus Capital Management L-P, the hedge fund that is urging Atlanta-based Delta to combine with United.

While Delta's pilots union has said it is NOT opposed to a merger involving Delta, it wants to have a role in the process and to ensure that the pilots have a meaningful stake in the new company if a deal is reached.

The pilots union can NOT stop a merger on its own. But it has a NON voting seat on Delta's board and influence with management and other employees. It was a vocal critic of U-S Airways' hostile bid to buy Delta. The bid, which came while Delta was in bankruptcy, was defeated in January. Delta emerged from bankruptcy in April.

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