Delta is matching planes to routes

  • Article by: LIZ FEDOR , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 7, 2008 - 10:01 PM

Delta will be swapping some Northwest and Delta planes to best fit its routes with passenger demand.

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bwikNov. 7, 0811:35 PM

Liz, this is a very good article with a considerable amount of news. The details seem right. A rarity in airline stories. Well done.

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RichardsorNov. 8, 08 7:30 AM

How come the flight Operations people at NWA were not smart enough to figure that out????? Instead NWA just cancelled every other flight out of MSP to Memphis TN , to make sure they were full. With Southwest showing up at the Humphrey Terminal pretty quick , its reassuring to know Delta at least examines their operations and adjusts accordingly.

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sfinmnNov. 8, 08 7:42 AM

As a former Delta employee for over a decade, I can't help but be interested in seeing how all this plays out. Delta & NWA rumors were "flying" constantly throughout the '90s. Their route structures are a perfect fit (which is why they got by anti-trust review), but all the other issues will make for an extremely challenging & expensive merger. There were always two main stumbling blocks for this pairing: Fleet composition & Northwest's notoriously gruesome labor relations. On the fleet side, don't let the "load balancing" spin fool you; it's far outweighed by the maintenance, logistical, and technical costs of owning so many different aircraft/engine combinations. You can be sure that streamlining initiatives have already begun, but will take decades to settle out. On the labor side, only Delta's pilots are union. Combine that with the fact that NWAs labor relations were usually considered the second worst in the industry (United wins that one), and you have a very volatile mix for a long time. I was in the middle of the Delta/Pan Am acquisition, and as relatively small as that was, it was still a major headache and cost a lot more than originally anticipated. Since I don't fly much anymore, I can sit back and watch this one with a detached fascination. Should be an interesting ride.

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HyperionNov. 8, 0811:02 AM

Will likely work because they will put a smaller airplane on it. Probably a 763 ER (~220 seats) instead of the Airbus 333 (~300 seats) that NWA has used on the route.

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bronco4x4Nov. 8, 0812:22 PM

and NWA hadn't figured this out? No rocket science here.

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hals000Nov. 8, 0812:42 PM

I would love to see the triple seven at MSP!

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lobster68wNov. 8, 08 1:21 PM

While, I'll be willing to bet MSP and DTW are going to be losing A330 service to ATL and JFK and getting replaced with DL's CRAPPY 763's. If so, kiss this FF goodbye.

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gopher68Nov. 8, 08 2:12 PM

Not sure if you're aware, but aircraft are very expensive to purchase and thus need to be in service for many years for airlines to recoup their investment. Thus, conditions at the time purchase decisions are made (and which can be reasonably forecasted) can be quite different a just few years down the road. Plus it literally takes months if not years to adapt new aircraft into an airline's fleet (maintenance stations need to be determined, flight crews need to be trained to name but a few). Matching aircraft to routes, both tactically as well as strategically, is a remarkably intricate and challenging exercise. That's one of the reasons Southwest is able to operate much more effciently than any of the other majors -- they only have one fleet type.

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rsmatteNov. 8, 08 3:26 PM

Delta- B-737, B-757, B-767, B-777, MD-88, MD-90 Northwest- DC-9, A-319, A-320, B-757, A-330, B-747. There are different models variations within these fleet types.

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