Posts Tagged 'Northwest Airlines'

R.I.P. Northwest Airlines

Nearly two years after Delta and Northwest Airlines announced their merger the Northwest Airlines (also known as NWA) brand has totally disappeared. From the first of February 2010, there are no more Northwest airport locations, check-in desks, no NW flight numbers, not even a website.

Delta and Northwest announced their plans for merger in the middle of April, 2008, that also included the declaration that the Delta brand will be kept. We all knew this was coming, but it’s still hard to believe that such a well-known, traditional airline brand is now completely history.

Established in 1926 as Northwest Airways, it started flying mail for the US Post Office. One year later it was also transporting passengers and went international with its first route to Winnipeg, Canada in 1928.

In 1931, Northwest sponsored Charles and Anne Lindbergh on a pioneering flight to Japan, scouting what would become known as the Northwest Airlines Great Circle route, and proving that flying via Alaska could save as much as 2,000 miles (3,000 km) on a New York City-Tokyo route. In 1933, Northwest was designated to fly the Northern Transcontinental Route from New York City to Seattle, Washington, adopting the name of Northwest Airlines one year later. In 1947 it became the first airline to operate a commercial passenger flight from the USA (Minneapolis) to Japan (Tokyo) onboard a Douglas DC-4, flying through Edmonton (Canada), Anchorage (Alaska) and Shemya in the Aleutian Islands. The flight actually continued from Tokyo to Shanghai (China) and to Manila (Philippines). Soon followed by flights to Seoul (Korea) and Taipei, Taiwan in 1950. At this time the airline was re-branded as “Northwest Orient Airlines“.

In 1951, Northwest was involved in the foundation of Japan Airlines (JAL) by leasing airplanes and crew to the newly formed Japanese flag carrier. From 1952 Northwest was granted a right to operate flights out of Tokyo to other Asian destinations (12 at some point in time), and soon it became the largest non-Japanese carrier at Tokyo. It remains very active on these routes out of Japan even until today. Northwest started using the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet in 1970.

After merging with Republic Airlines in 1986 and dropping the word “Orient” from its name, in 1993 Northwest launched one of the biggest airline partnerships ever, with Dutch KLM. When KLM merged with Air France, it meant that both KLM and Northwest joined the SkyTeam alliance.

In 2005, Northwest was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – becoming the 4th of the top 6 US carriers to kick off a reorganization process that year being protected. Northwest emerged from bankruptcy protection 20 months later, in May, 2007. Then, it took less than a year to announce the merger with Delta Airlines in April 2008 to form the World’s Largest Airline, to be named Delta Air Lines.

During 2009 the Northwest brand started to fade away with airport counters merging with Delta, as well as many aircraft getting repainted in the Delta scheme – which also meant new Airbus types carrying the Delta logo for the first time ever (for example the Airbus A330 as seen below). October 2009 saw the operational center being moved to Atlanta, GA from its long-time main hub in Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN. Other hubs developed over the years in Detroit, Memphis, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita are now fully taken over by Delta.

After operating as a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines for more than a year with 303 aircraft, Northwest Airlines as a company ceased to exist officially on December 31, 2009. One month later, on January 31, 2010, Delta completed the merge of the reservation systems, redirected over to and discontinued using the Northwest name for flights. The official last Northwest flight was NW2470 from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. The actual last Northwest departure was actually a chartered Airbus A319 flying as NW 9946, a flight between Washington-Dulles and Minneapolis, departed at 12:54 AM EST on January 31st. Maybe reflecting on the nearly quarter of a century partnership with KLM, the last flight to land was NW 248, a flight from Detroit to Amsterdam, landing at 5:33 AM EST.

Its headquarters building in Eagan, Minnesota that once housed approximately 1000 employees is currently up for sale. Some airplanes are still flying in nwa livery – but only until they get their new paint-job as part of periodical maintenance…

R.I.P. Northwest Airlines

Flew for 83 years and 3 months (1926-2009)

by balint01


Delta and Northwest Announce Merger

After month and month of speculation, with four US airlines going under or declaring bankruptcy in the last two weeks, Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines have finally announced their merger late last night. When the news broke about a possible merger that Delta Airlines is a part of, it was about talks with United Airlines as we reported on the matter earlier. The final couple sounds a little bit more logical, with both of them being members of the same Airline Alliance (SkyTeam) and also sharing membership in the group of 6 SkyTeam members that were given antitrust immunity just last Friday, that allows for integration of their Trans-Atlantic flights under the US-EU Open Skies agreement.

Delta and Northwest planes in Atlanta, Delta\'s Hub Airport

One of the major issues (so far) has been the so-called seniority list of the ~11.000 Pilots at both airlines as the two Pilots’ Unions could not come to agreement earlier. The seniority lists guarantee special rights to Pilots who reach a certain level of experience flying for the airline and actually determines which planes they can fly (which influences their wages…). But if the two airlines merge their lists, the new, combined list may have more pilots with more experience that would move others lower in the list and they would lose or not get their advantages for a few years ahead… Looks like there is a conclusion on the horizon in this issue with Delta offering a pay hike for the pilots as a compensation. As The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published on Monday (14APR2008) “some people familiar with the matter say, Atlanta-based Delta will try to cut a deal with its 6,000 pilots, roll out the merger and then negotiate with Northwest’s 5,000 pilots afterward.

The deal could set off a series of other mergers, “rumours” say that United and Continental could be first in line and that combo would be bigger than Delta-Northwest, and analysts also say that American Airlines would probably intensify its search for a partner. “It’s a very difficult time for the industry,” Delta CEO Richard Anderson told Delta’s 50,000 workers Friday in his weekly “Right from Richard” recorded message. Roughly half are based at the carrier’s huge Atlanta hub. The airline is Georgia’s largest private employer.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has done a very interesting comparison in February when the Delta-Northwest tie-up was first revealed, you can read the numbers here. The new, Atlanta based merged DELTA Airlines will have an annual revenue of 35 billion USD, a fleet of more than 800 aircraft, and 75.000 employees worldwide. The new airline together with its regional partners would have a network of 390 destinations in 67 countries. “We’re announcing a transaction that is about addition, not subtraction, and combines end-to-end networks that open a world of opportunities for our customers and employees,” Anderson said.

by balint01

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