The major domestic airlines -- more heavily invested than ever in international routes at the expense of domestic capacity -- have been extremely worried that international traffic might begin to sag as oil prices keep rising.
Is the other shoe dropping? This afternoon, Northwest said it was canceling two transatlantic flights and suspending another in its joint venture with KLM, a division of Air France-KLM.
"Decreased customer demand" was one of two reasons cited.
Here's the announcement, which I guarantee you received serious attention at Delta and among other major airlines that have bet the farm on international travel:
EAGAN, Minn.-- Northwest Airlines, with its trans-Atlantic joint venture partner KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, today announced a seasonal suspension of flights between Minneapolis/St. Paul-Paris and cancellation of flights between Detroit-Dusseldorf and Hartford-Amsterdam – effective October 1, 2008.
With oil reaching a record-breaking $140 a barrel today, the reductions come in response to soaring fuel costs and decreased customer demand. Customers with advance bookings for these flights will be offered alternate NWA or SkyTeam alliance flight re-accommodations.
Selective frequency reductions and aircraft type changes may also be implemented on additional trans-Atlantic flights, depending on oil prices and ongoing customer demand.
Minneapolis/St. Paul – Paris
|Destination||Flight Number||Departs||Arrives||Effective Date of Suspension|
|Paris||NW 62 / KL 6062||3:45 p.m.||7:20 a.m. +1||October 1, 2008|
|NW 61 / KL 6061||12:50||3:25 p.m.||October 2, 2008|
Flights will resume between Minneapolis/St. Paul and Paris on March 28, 2009.
Detroit – Dusseldorf
|Destination||Flight Number||Departs||Arrives||Effective Date of Cancellation|
|Dusseldorf||NW 94 / KL 6094||9:45 p.m.||11:45 a.m. +1||October 1, 2008|
|Detroit||NW 93 / KL 6093||1:15 p.m.||4:15 p.m.||October 2, 2008|
Hartford – Amsterdam
|Destination||Flight number||Departs||Arrives||Effective Date of Cancellation|
|Amsterdam||NW 98 / KL 6098||5:25 p.m.||6:40 a.m. + 1||October 1, 2008|
|Hartford, CT||NW 97 / KL 6097||1:25 p.m.||3:25 p.m.||October 2, 2008|