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    Northwest Airlines To Close ELB Reservations Call Center

    (October 16, 2002) -- Northwest Airlines has announced it will be closing its LB reservations center (in ELB on Los Coyotes Diagonal between Woodruff Ave. and Wardlow Rd.)

    The LB reservations center will close in December. Northwest’s six other reservations call centers will handle calls previously routed to Southern California.

    "The approximately 250 Long Beach reservationists also will be eligible to transfer to the airline’s other reservations facilities," Northwest said in a company release. The release added that Northwest will also close ticket offices in New York City, Bloomington, MN and San Jose, CA and "[a]s the result of these actions, approximately 100 management positions will [also] be eliminated in Atlanta and Long Beach."

    Northwest Airlines is the world's fourth largest airline. Its LB facility was located in a portion of a state-designated "enterprise zone," which the Council expanded in March, 2001 to include the ELB area occupied by Northwest. Within state designed "enterprise zones," businesses and developers (usually in economically distressed areas) receive state tax benefits.

    Prior to that vote, 5th district Councilwoman Kell said enterprise zone expansion into ELB "allows for the attraction of a Northwest Airlines Reservation and Training Center, and this is going to, this major airline presence in Long Beach will provide 350 jobs which are immediately going to come into the city, and the creation of approximately 70 jobs annually."

    City staff told following the Council vote that no city financial incentives (i.e. sales tax rebates, or the like) were part of the package used to attract the Northwest Airlines facility. Staff indicated some city business assistance services, ombudsman and the like were involved, but not direct city financial subsidies.

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