History Of Northwest Airlines





History Northwest Airlines


Northwest Airlines originally known as Northwest Airways began operations in 1926 as an airmail carrier providing airmail service to the United States Postal Services. In 1934, Northwest Airways reincorporated as Northwest Airlines.  Republic Airlines had acquired North Central Airlines, Southern Airways and Hughes Airwest in the late 1970's and early 1980's in its efforts to remain viable in the market. However, Republic Airlines continued to have great difficulties. In 1986, Northwest Airlines acquired Republic Airlines. 

Northwest Airlines takeover of Republic Airlines was an effort to gain a stronger hold in the air passenger and cargo markets. This was a very volatile time for the industry. With airfare price wars brought on by deregulation, airlines carriers for the second time in history (see Pan Am) need to ban together or be taken over through hostile mergers.  

Northwest Airlines history is a prime example of the degree to which airline mergers were taking place due to the volatility in the industry. Record number of mergers that was taking place throughout the 1970's and 1980's.

In 1970, Hughes Air Corporation, owned by Howard Hughes created the Hughes Airwest Airlines after purchasing Air West Airlines. Air West Airlines had purchased several regional air carriers; Pacific Airlines, Bonanza Airlines, West Coast Airlines, Zimmerly Airlines and Empire Airlines before being taken over by Hughes Airwest.

As of 2006, Northwest was the world's sixth largest airline in terms of domestic and international scheduled passenger miles flown and the U.S.'s sixth largest airline in terms of domestic passenger miles flown. In addition to operating one of the largest domestic route networks in the U.S., Northwest carries more passengers across the Pacific Ocean (5.1 million in 2004) than any other U.S. carrier, and carries more domestic air cargo than any other American passenger airline.  

It is the only U.S. combination carrier (passenger and cargo service) operating dedicated Boeing 747 freighters. The airline, along with its then-parent company, Northwest Airlines Corporation and subsidiaries, operated under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection which, in the United States, allows continued operation during the reorganization effort, not cessation of flights as in the case in some countries. Northwest emerged from bankruptcy protection on May 31, 2007. 

Northwest Airlines' regional flights are operated under the name Delta Connection by Mesaba Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, and Compass Airlines. Northwest Airlines is currently a minority owner of Midwest Airlines, holding a 40% stake in the company. Its frequent flyer program is called WorldPerks. Northwest Airlines' tagline is "Now you're flying smart."

On April 14, 2008, Northwest announced it would become known as Delta Air Lines after its merger with Delta Air Lines closed on October 29, 2008. This made Delta the largest airline in the world. Northwest will, however, continue to operate as an independent carrier (as a Delta Air Lines subsidiary) for several months until the operating certificates and other factors are combined. 

In February 2009, the airline began consolidating gates and ticket counters at airports served simultaneously by both Delta and Northwest. The rebranding will include the changing of "Northwest" signs to "Delta" signs. The integration is expected to continue throughout this year and into early 2010. The airline's hubs in Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Memphis were rebranded as of March 31, 2009. The Tokyo hub was rebranded on August 24, 2009. The integration of both carriers is planned to be completed by February 2010. 

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