updated 9/27/2005 8:58:43 PM ET 2005-09-28T00:58:43

Northwest Airlines Corp. on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against American Express claiming the financial services company's travel business was withholding payments worth about $63.4 million for tickets on its flights.

The airline warned in court documents that failure by American Express Co. to pay money owed for the ticket sales will impede its ability to reorganize and emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

According to court documents, payments made on American Express cards account for about 30 percent of Northwest's revenues from credit card transactions, or around $3 billion annually.

An American Express spokesman said the company was working with the carrier on an agreement.

Northwest Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 14, said the airline and American Express are "conducting negotiations with respect to, among other things, the amount of deposits, if any, to be held by American Express in connection with the sales of tickets on Northwest by customers using the AMEX credit card."

American Express notified Northwest Airlines on Sept. 14 that it would withhold 100 percent of all charges on its charge cards and would not make payments to the airline, according to court documents.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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