between US carriers Delta and Northwest has been completed, a move that will
gradually see the Northwest name disappear from our skies.
Northwest is now
a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta, and under the terms of the merger, the new
combined airline will be headquartered in Atlanta and known as Delta.
Over the next 12-24 months Delta’s brand
will be introduced throughout the Northwest fleet, including its livery, uniforms,
in-flight entertainment and onboard amenities. Flight schedules will also be
merged under the Delta code, and the carriers’ loyalty programmes will be
consolidated. Delta says that there will be “immediate
complimentary upgrade reciprocity for elite members of both airlines’ loyalty
programmes, with airport lounge reciprocity continuing as usual”.
The carrier says that with the acquisition of Northwest, Delta is
now “the world’s largest airline”, serving over 170 million passengers per
year. The completion of the merger comes amid increased consolidation within
the airline industry, with Lufthansa yesterday announcing it was increasing its
share of Bmi to 80 per cent (see online news October 29).
Virgin Atlantic (which itself is 49 per cent owned by Singapore
Airlines) has proposed combining Bmi’s and Virgin’s long and short-haul networks,
while BA is currently pursuing a merger with Iberia, although this has now been
delayed until next year.
Report by Mark Caswell