Delta Airlines is now the parent company of Northwest Airlines.
The consolidated airline, which will be known as Delta Airlines, received approval from the Department of Justice on Oct. 29, six months after plans for the merger were announced.
The $2.6B deal will create the world’s largest carrier based on traffic. The new company is expected to generate about $35B in revenue and employ about 75,000 people; its key hub will be in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International (ATL), Delta’s original hub.
“The airline industry faces a very difficult economic environment around the world and this merger gives Delta increased flexibility to adapt to the economic challenges ahead,” says Delta Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson. “With much of the work to bring our airlines together well under way, the new Delta will be at the front of the pack in achieving the benefits of consolidation and is well positioned to navigate the tough waters ahead in a difficult economy.”
Until the integration between the two airlines is complete, they will continue to operate separately. Delta is expected to integrate its brand into Northwest beginning next year.
One consultant, Terry Trippler, an aviation consultant who runs the travel advisory Web site www.tripplertravel.com, says most airports won’t see much difference.
“The only real impact will be on the hubs,” he says. “The biggest difference will probably show in Cincinnati and Memphis, but it will remain to be seen how much difference there will be – maybe very little.”
He thinks the Northwest hubs will remain, with Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County (DTW) becoming a major gateway to Asia. He also says Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP) is unlikely to downsize and is actually likely to grow. Internationally, he thinks Tokyo will probably grow and Amsterdam may.
“Other airports I don’t think will see much impact,” he says. “The only dual service was between hubs, so there is no change for other airlines. There may be some additional gates available at airports that both Delta and Northwest served, but flights could very well remain somewhat stable.”