Northwest and Delta Airlines are well down the road to merging their operations, pending the ironing out of pilot seniority rules. Once the merger is announced, which is expected to occur any day now, the new entity is expected to be called Delta Airlines.
Legacy Air Carriers
Both Northwest and Delta are considered legacy carriers, airlines that got their start in the earliest days of commercial flying. In 1926 Northwest Airways
came to life and two years later Delta Air Service
was launched. Along with American, United, Continental and USAirways, the Big 6 are the nation’s oldest air carriers.
Battered By Bankruptcy
Both airlines fared extremely poorly following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, hastening a decline that had begun many years earlier. High overhead, surging fuel costs, and management-labor issues have hampered these airlines. As a result, both airlines lost tens of billions of dollars and shaved their respective workforces by thousands of employees.
The World’s Biggest Airline
A NWA-Delta merger would immediately create the world’s largest air carrier, which is likely to begin a wave of additional consolidations particularly in the US. Combined, the newly merged entity would have a fleet of more than 800 aircraft at their disposal, not including previously ordered aircraft.
Don’t Look For A “Now Hiring” Sign Anytime Soon
Prospective employees who are looking for work with the new air carrier are likely to find the pickings slim. Additional crew layoffs are expected and a downsizing of overall operations will take place. Instead, opportunities at current NWA-Delta subsidiaries such as Mesaba Airlines, Compass Airlines, and Pinnacle Airlines should still be available.