I’m not going to write much about the Delta – Northwest merger because you’ll find plenty about it elsewhere, but there are 2 points I’d like to make:
– This is not a done deal. There will be significant pilot opposition to this, and that should not be discounted.
– In theory – theory – I can understand doing this if you shut down a hub or two (Memphis comes to mind) and laid off a bunch of people, cutting a bunch of cost out of the system. Perhaps, then, I’d understand how they’ll generate some cost savings. But that’s not the message. In an email, Northwest says that they won’t be eliminating any hubs or any service to small towns. Now, I’m guessing that is one giant load of poop, as how could you possibly save two struggling carriers by simply jamming everything they have together. That doesn’t really make any sense (as if the airline industry is run by sense).
I have the feeling that I’m missing something, but if neither one of these airlines could be successful longterm on their own in an extremely difficult environment, how would focusing on merging these airlines together (instead of the actual airline operation) improve matters? And when United and Continental get together (as rumored) – look out. As I’ve mentioned before, this will be an operational mess the likes of which we’ve never seen. I’m an optimist about this industry, and I cannot conceive how how this can all work out.