US Federal Aviation Administration allows Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines to operate as single carrier

Friday, January 1, 2010, 20:40 by Jose Philip

The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has allowed Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines to fly as a single carrier, which takes the two US-bases airlines closer towards completion of their consolidation.

Delta Air Lines, based in Atlanta, Georgia, the United Stats, had bought Northwest Airlines, headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota, the United Stats, for $2.8 billion in stock in October 2008 – to become the largest airline in the world.

The US Federal Aviation Administration’s Single Operating Certificate will let Delta Air Lines to put its code on the flights of Northwest Airlines and also phase out the name of ‘Northwest Airlines.’ This process will become complete in the first quarter of 2010, and, for the time being, the passengers will not notice “anything different,” an official of Delta said.

In a memo to the employees, Stephen Gorman, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Delta Air Lines, said that there is still work ahead for the total merger of the two airlines in all aspects, which will take place within another year.

After Delta Air Lines bought Northwest Airlines in October 2008, the passengers of Northwest Airlines have been witnessing changes in booking a flight online, a single frequent-flier programme and credit cards, a larger number of code-shared flights, and even in the uniforms of Northwest Airlines’ flight attendants.

According to Stephen Gorman, all tickets and fares are to be consolidated into the Delta Air Lines’ reservation in the first quarter of 2010. Following this, every flight will become a Delta Air Lines flight. The website nwa.com will be discontinued, and the website delta.com is to be the website for the combined carrier.

About 85% of the aircraft of Northwest Airlines has been painted in the colours of Delta Air Lines. Besides, the interiors of most of the planes of Northwest Airlines have already been changed over to the blue leather seats and blue carpet of Delta Air Lines.

In the memo to the employees, Delta Air Lines’ executive vice-president and chief operating officer Stephen Gorman said that the issue of labour representation is yet to be worked out.

Northwest Airlines’ flight attendants are seeking to carry on their union in the non-unionised Delta Air Lines. The ground workers, gate agents and reservation agents of Northwest Airlines, who also are unionised, are demanding to continue with their unions in the new company.

It has been estimated that the combined company – with around 70,000 employees – will have $28 billion in yearly revenue.

Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines is till trying to remove Japan Airlines (JAL) – which is on the brink of bankruptcy – from its alliance with American Airlines and make JAL join the SkyTeam alliance, of which Delta is a member.

Right now, Delta Airlines is dealing with the consequences of the incident in which a Nigerian man attempted to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Detroit on Christmas Day.