Jun 20, 2001 8:55 PM

Las Vegas-based National Airlines may be close to striking a deal with an unnamed investment group to either purchase or refinance the airlines, which has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy since last December.

National had been in negotiations with financier Carl Icahn and a second group of investors it has declined to identify because of confidentiality agreements.

A bankruptcy court hearing in the case has been rescheduled from Friday to next Tuesday, June 26, according to National Airlines spokesman Dick Shimizu.

At the hearing, Bankruptcy Court Judge Linda Riegle will consider extending an earlier injunction blocking Harrah’s from withdrawing its $16 million credit line, which National needs to remain operating.

Shimizu said the injunction remains in effect until Tuesday’s hearing. “Everything remains status quo,” he said.

Shimizu also denied making a comment attributed to him by a local newspaper that National may lose “one or two routes like San Francisco” as part of a restructuring deal.

“I never made that statement, and National has no plans to cut back on any routes,” Shimizu said today. “I’m bewildered where the newspaper got the quote, since I never spoke to them.”