CHICAGO - The Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airports Commission this week signed off on a new agreement with Delta Air Lines Inc. that allows the carrier to close its former Northwest Airlines Corp. local headquarters without triggering immediate repayment of $245 million of debt.

In exchange, the commission has Delta's guarantee that it will retain its hub at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and operate 400 departing flights daily while also preserving 10,000 local jobs. The airline - which acquired Northwest last fall - must repay the bonds issued by the commission with its own general obligation pledge on an accelerated schedule six years ahead of their final maturity in 2022.

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