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Northwest Airlines to Create New Regional Carrier

Northwest Airlines announced that it will create a new regional carrier using the operating certificate it purchased from the now-defunct-but-still-missed Independence Air.  The new airline, to be called Compass, will operate 70-seat regional jets beginning in June.  Last fall, the airline received permission from its pilots to create a subsidiary to fly regional jets (the pilots’ contract put a cap on the number of regional jets the airline could fly).  But given the bankruptcy situation, Northwest says it needs the regional jets to survive.  Well, they’re part of what it needs to survive; the airline needs more than just a bunch of smaller planes to become profitable.  This is a big step, though, as restrictions on aircraft type tied Northwest’s hands when it came to cost cutting.

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