Despite the questions over how the nation's seventh largest airlines will rebuild itself, Salt Lake airline officials remain confident the 650-employee reservation center will figure in Eastern's plans.

"There is just no way they can have an airline without the Salt Lake City Rez," said Jack Huddleston, center operations manager. "That's the way we feel, and that's the way our employees feel," he said.The outlook for Salt Lake reservation agents, who are non-union employees, hasn't really changed since March 7, when they were put on "no-work" status. The only difference is earlier this week employees were told to call in after 4 p.m. concerning the possibility of returning to work the next day, based on Peter Ueberroth's possible buyout. But because the deal fell through, Huddleston said it will be next week, at the very earliest, that Eastern might be flying again.

Some reservation agents had been returning to the office on a volunteer basis to answer phone calls from their colleagues. But starting Thursday, Huddleston said center officials will update a recorded message.

"The possiblity of going back to work (this week) is not a true possibility," Huddleston said. "As far as any plans for Salt Lake, we haven't heard any word from the corporation."