Northwest-Delta Merger Nears

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.

Northwest 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.

Delta Airlines

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.

Airline Consolidation Likely In 2008

A Rocky Start For 2008

Prospective flight attendants should know that employment opportunities at some air carriers are likely to change rapidly this year. Due to sustained (and high) fuel prices, some airlines are finding the going very difficult and are looking at new partnerships to help them weather the crisis. The impact on new flight attendants could be strong as newly merged entities lay off excess crew and seek to streamline their operations.

Who Is At Risk?

Anyone looking for work at a legacy air carrier — American, United, USAirways, Delta, Continental, and Northwest — probably is familiar with the difficulties each airline has been experiencing over the past seven or eight years. While American and Continental have staved off bankruptcy, the others have not.

USAirways was bought out by America West who promptly jettisoned their own name in favor of the much more established and universally known USAirways.

United, Northwest, and Delta have gone through historic losses, losing tens of billions of dollars between them and reducing staff. Out of the three, United is the strongest with Northwest and Delta considering a partnership or outright merger.

Thus, working for an established air carrier (if they are hiring) offers a great risk especially if fuel costs remain high or spike upward.

Should I Go Regional?

Besides the recommended airlines listed on the sidebar of this page, who else might the prospective flight attendant consider? Regional operators continue to hire but their pay ranges from $12-17K annually, low enough to allow workers to qualify for food stamps.

JetBlue has a newer fleet, but along with Frontier and SkyWest, this air carrier reported

some of the largest drops in their respective stock prices this week.

Wait It Out Or Jump In

For the person who absolutely wants to fly, there is no time like the present for seeking work. Quite frankly, airlines are always

hiring. Just be prepared for what some are considering the inevitable, that your airline may be merged, go out of business, or lay off crew. If you’re eager to start flying, then join up, but if you’re looking for job security, the airlines cannot give that to you.

Out of all the carriers flying in North America, Southwest Airlines is probably the strongest. Although they say that they are hiring flight attendants, Southwest is not accepting new applications.

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