Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Airline Merger (s)

The official line coming out of Delta Air Lines is that worries about deep cutbacks and consolidation in the imminent merger with Northwest Airlines are overblown, that the route structures will compliment each other and that more cities will have better air service.

Put me down as skeptical on that. But with all indications being that Delta's corporate culture will predominate in a merged giant airline, not Northwest's, at least we can expect a change of tone, in time. Northwest's work force in my opinion is the most demoralized in the industry, and that's saying something.

Delta recently had 50,000 people apply for 1,000 openings for flight attendants.

Delta has been sharply beefing up its international routes in recent years, especially eastward. Northwest, of course, is a major presence on trans-Pacific routes. A major priority in a merged airline will be to stimulate feeder traffic into domestic international hubs.

IS there any good news for languishing mid-sized and smaller cities currently seeing a sharp decline in air service? Not much, if they can't come up with international connecting traffic to feed the beast.

Mike Boyd has some thoughts on the prospects for medium and small city air traffic in his essay this week at the Boyd Group.

Meanwhile, the next shoe to drop is a likely United-Continental merger. Oh great. There goes the remaining value of my Continental elite status and miles.

Meanwhile, I'm off for an overnighter in Toronto. In an RJ. And it's about to snow. Shoot me now.


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