Northwest Airlines is going to pay $2 million for the operating certificate of former low-cost carrier Independence Air. Indy Air, which was auctioning it off, had other bidders for it but said that Northwest's offer was the highest.
The FAA requires each airline to have an operating certificate. It's easier to buy someone else's than going through the process of creating one from scratch. Northwest is most likely going to use it in a new subsidiary for regional routes, one that flies planes with 51 to 76 seats. NWA also recently reached a tentative deal with its pilots that allows the airline to start work on the subsidiary.