Delta and Northwest To Merge

By | February 13, 2008

An anonymous source at Delta has reported that the rumored Delta-Northwest merger will be announced next week. The merger will use the Delta name, and retain the Delta headquarters in Atlanta, as well as the Delta CEO.
The consolidation, long rumored in the news, would unify the two carriers. The previous industry merger unified US Airways with America West…two airlines that overlapped in limited markets. The result was chaos. Hopefully, Delta and Northwest will learn some lessons from this, but we doubt it.

Delta Air Lines maintains hubs/focus cities at New York, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles. Northwest Airlines maintains hubs/focus cities at Minneapolis/St. Paul, Detroit, and Memphis, with an Indianapolis focus city as well as its linkup with KLM in Amsterdam and its presence in Tokyo.

So…the question we care about: Is this good for us, the public. Most predict reduced combination means higher airfares, layoffs of duplicative personnel, and possible elimination of hub cities. For other carriers, the advantages will come in opening slots as the merged Delta scales back flights at major airports, most notably slot controlled New York-LaGuardia and Washington-National.

Sun County Airlines would become Minneapolis’s sole hometown airline, and might be able to use any service reduction to their benefit. AirTran might be able to gain additional gates at its Atlanta hub, cohubbed by Delta. Someone might be able to make inroads into Delta’s fortress hub at Cincinnati and Memphis might end up on the chopping block.

We can speculate all we want, but we will have to just wait and see.