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Old May 4th, 2008, 08:33 PM   #381
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Great pics! I personally really hope that Delta survives. In 2003, I've had 9 beautiful flights with them and if everything goes by plan there will be 12 more this summer. In Atlanta, 2003, we had to change planes in 10 mins. We made it, and so did our luggage. Great job, Delta!
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Old May 5th, 2008, 07:51 PM   #382
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
A Delta-Northwest deal is expected to trigger others as players vie to keep heavyweight status
8 February 2008

DALLAS (AP) - The Delta-Northwest combination inching toward completion would create a new world leader, leapfrogging American Airlines and the Air France-KLM tandem in passenger traffic, but would also likely trigger a chain reaction of other deals, with unknown consequences for travelers.

The next potential deal in line -- United and Continental -- would be even bigger, and other pairings are likely too as carriers bulk up to compete in the new, more competitive global airline industry.

Executives at the big airlines believe that unless you have lots of planes flying at convenient times to many cities, valued corporate travelers won't remember you the next time they book a flight.

The economics of the airline industry also are driving carriers into each others' arms.

High fuel prices are causing many airlines to lose money, and the threat of recession makes the outlook even more grim. Airlines have raised fares, but not enough to offset fuel. Conventional wisdom holds that in mergers, airlines could reduce overlapping routes and raise prices.

Of the so-called legacy U.S. airlines -- those that existed before deregulation and operate hub-and-spoke route networks -- Continental Airlines Inc. has been the most profitable since the industry downturn that began in 2001.

Continental's chief executive, Lawrence Kellner, says he would prefer to remain a stand-alone company but doesn't want to fall behind if others start merging.

"We do pay attention to relative size, and I think we would have some concern" if rivals merge, Kellner recently told analysts. He said he'll watch what competitors do, and "if we see something or hear something, we won't hesitate to act aggressively."

Northwest and Delta Air Lines Inc. have been talking about joining the two carriers, and people close to the talks say a deal could be announced as soon as next week.

In a memo to his employees Wednesday, Northwest Airlines Corp. CEO Doug Steenland said "consolidation is highly likely at some point," and doing nothing "could be our worst alternative."

"I do believe that consolidation is highly likely at some point -- particularly with the high cost of fuel and the other challenges that the industry faces," he said.

If Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest airline, combines with No. 5 Northwest Airlines Corp., it would create the largest U.S. airline, passing United and the current leader, American Airlines.

But United, the second-largest, and No. 4 Continental could trump Delta by joining forces.

The history of airline mergers is mixed at best. It's a challenge to combine different aircraft fleets, labor unions and cultures.

"Mergers are always a problem, and that's why Continental is not in favor of one," says Raymond Neidl, an analyst for Calyon Securities. "They have always been expensive and sloppy."

Neidl said network carriers believe they need bulk to compete with each other and with growing European and Asian airlines, especially when limits on U.S.-Europe service are eased at the end of March.

Continental and United operate complementary route networks, making a combination attractive. Continental has a strong presence in Latin America and, from its hub in Newark, New Jersey, flying to Europe. United has strong routes across the Pacific, including in the growing Chinese market.

A Continental-United partnership wouldn't have as much global reach as Delta and Northwest -- an important consideration for business travelers -- "but it would certainly surpass either carrier by themselves and also American. It's not a bad second choice," said Robert Mann, an airline industry consultant.

Other potential partners for Continental and United "aren't in the same ballpark," he said. Many analysts believe antitrust concerns could prevent American from buying another big carrier.

Potential roadblocks to a deal could include the new company's name, whether it would be based at Continental's home in Houston or United's base in Chicago, and who would run it. Leadership issues reportedly have been a sticking point in the Delta-Northwest talks.

Roger King, an airline analyst for CreditSights, said United's name might survive, and there might be dual headquarters, but Wall Street prefers Continental's management team.

"One of the problems with United is that their (profit) margins aren't that good; they just can't seem to run an airline as well as Continental can," he said.

There are also parochial issues, such as a tax-abatement deal that requires Continental to keep at least 2,400 employees at its headquarters through the end of this year. And labor issues.

Jay Pierce, the new chairman of the pilots' union at Continental, said he worries a merger could cost jobs, and so pilots want stock in any new combined company as a condition for supporting the deal.

"The pilot group would be assuming risk" in a merger, he said. "Risk deserves reward."

United's unions say they won't block a deal if employees benefit -- they see consolidation as a chance to raise their pay, which was reduced when United parent UAL Corp. went through bankruptcy. The president of the United pilots' union, Steve Wallach, vows his group "will not rubber-stamp any merger unless and until our interests are addressed."

Continental is reported to be talking with United, but nobody expects it to announce anything before Northwest makes a deal. That's because Northwest holds a so-called golden share of Continental, allowing it to block a change in ownership at Continental.

Northwest once owned 6.7 million shares of Continental stock. The Justice Department sued Northwest, claiming that its controlling interest in another airline was anticompetitive. As part of a settlement in 2000, Northwest sold its Continental stock but got the golden share.

However, if control of Northwest itself changes -- as it would if it is acquired by Delta -- Continental can buy the share for $100.

The airlines declined to comment on possible deals. Executives' public remarks have been vague -- Continental's Kellner and United CEO Glenn Tilton have acknowledged only that their companies have examined how potential deals could affect them.

Tilton told employees this week, "The work we have done puts us in a strong position to participate in consolidation when the opportunity and the time is right for all of our stakeholders. No one will be making our decisions for us."

And what if Continental or United decide not to play musical chairs? What if, even in the face of a Delta-Northwest deal, they did nothing?

They might become takeover bait.

"Continental thinks they can survive on their own because of their strong hubs in the New York area and Houston and their international routes, but other airlines might be interested," said Neidl, the longtime industry analyst.

Even a Delta-Northwest curtain-raiser could draw competing offers -- some analysts think American's parent, AMR Corp., might bid for Northwest. There is speculation that US Airways Group Inc. could bid for Continental or United, although it might need a partner who can bring cash to the table.

------

Business writer Dave Carpenter in Chicago contributed to this report.
Continental is now in talks with the Oneworld Alliance as a means of preserving it's independence, while at the same time attaining about 80% of the benefits of a merger without all the pain:
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?p...d=aOVd_YVpLgVo

I wonder what this says about the relative merits of the Oneworld vs. SkyTeam alliances.
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Old May 6th, 2008, 09:42 AM   #383
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NW is actually very competitive in Asia, I can't see the old customers switching to Delta, which has no presence in Asia until a while ago.
At least they could have kept the NW livery, I see this as the begining of the end of Delta-NW.
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Old May 12th, 2008, 04:31 AM   #384
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issues with age of some aircraft in NWA fleet

A report looking into the issues that US airlines will have with replacing aging aircraft identifies NWA as having a problem with it's DC-9s:

http://www.uk-airport-news.info/heat...ews-160408.htm
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Old May 18th, 2008, 02:43 PM   #385
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Delta Air Lines pilots approve Northwest takeover

NEW YORK, May 14, 2008 (AFP) - Delta Air Lines said Wednesday its pilots had cleared merger plans with Northwest Airlines that would create the largest US carrier.

Delta said the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) had informed it Wednesday that Delta pilots had overwhelmingly voted to approve a change in their current contract that would promote revenue synergies in the new company.

"We are pleased with the Delta pilots' decision to ratify a modification to their current contract, marking an important step towards combining our two great airlines," said Delta chief executive Richard Anderson.

The merger of Delta, the nation's third-largest airline, with number-five Northwest, will create a new mammoth airline that keeps the Delta name and like its namesake, will be headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Delta pilots' refusal to concede salary and seniority concessions was one of the stumbling blocks that had held up the widely expected merger, which was announced in mid-April.

The planned merger comes amid consolidation in the aviation sector as airlines struggle to survive amid spiking fuel prices, which have more than doubled in a year.

Anderson said Delta remained committed to working with the ALPA leadership of both the Delta and Northwest pilots to reach a joint pilot agreement before the closing of the merger.

The future Delta and its regional partners would serve 390 destinations in 67 cities, have combined revenues of more than 35 billion dollars, a fleet of nearly 800 aircraft and about 75,000 employees worldwide.

The new merged entity, with a market capitalization at 17.7 billion dollars, is expected to generate annual cost-savings of one billion dollars.

Delta said it expected the combined company to have nearly seven billion dollars in cash at the merger closing.

The would-be partners announced a combined 10.5 billion dollars in losses on April 23, about a year after they left the bankruptcy protection that had offered them a chance to clean up their balance sheets instead of going broke.

Both airlines explained that they had written down their value to account for a jump in jet fuel costs that is weighing on their profit outlooks and to calculate a fair value ahead of their planned merger, announced on April 14.

Delta said Wednesday it expected the deal to be completed this year, after approval from regulators and the companies' shareholders.
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Old June 8th, 2008, 06:48 PM   #386
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INTERVIEW-Delta leads slow return to Mideast by US airlines
By Suleiman al-Khalidi

AMMAN, June 6 (Reuters) - Seven years since the Sept 11 hijack attacks which rocked the airline industry, Delta Air Lines is leading a slow return to the Arab world by U.S. carriers.

International expansion has offered growth for some U.S. airlines being squeezed by increasing competition at home, but Arab destinations have been overlooked in favour of surging markets such as China and India.

"The competition within the U.S. is tougher and we believe in market growth in the world theatre and we want to be part of that," Tony Charaf, president of Delta Technical Operations, said in an interview.

On Friday, No. 3 U.S. carrier Delta started service linking New York and Amman, Jordan, marking only the second Arab route opened by a U.S. airline since Sept 11.

One source of traffic in Amman comes from U.S. contractors and others based in Iraq, a business which state carrier Royal Jordanian RJ has benefitted from.

"There is a tremendous amount of growth in tourism, economy and educational between the United States and the Middle East and people need to travel," said Charaf.

Delta will operate four flights weekly between Amman and New York and in October will add Cairo-New York flights as well as service between Kuwait and Atlanta.

Two years ago it became the first U.S. airline to resume regular flights to anywhere in the Middle East with service to Tel Aviv, followed by Dubai last year.

"Dubai is doing very well for us and it has encouraged us to continue our expansion in the Middle East," said Charaf.

Like rivals such as Continental Airlines , Delta is seeing international revenues grow in importance.

Charaf said over 40 percent of Delta's revenues should come from international markets this year and that would rise to 50 percent next year.

"What we have done is to really shift our airline's strategy," he said.

Charaf said Delta had added more international capacity than any other major U.S. airline in the last two years, shifting more than 20 wide-bodied aircraft to foreign routes.

The airline's search for growth to offset domestic competition will also see it open new routes in Africa, Latin America and Europe.

The hijack attacks of Sept 11, 2001, sparked a sharp slowdown for airlines and triggered the collapse of major carriers.

Oil at record high prices this year has triggered more airline failures and rekindled speculation about further consolidation.

Delta and rival Northwest Airlines Corp in April disclosed they were in merger talks that could create the world's biggest airline by traffic.
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Old July 30th, 2008, 05:28 PM   #387
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House to discuss Delta-Northwest merger impact
30 July 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - A U.S. House subcommittee is holding a hearing to discuss the impact Delta Air Lines Inc.'s proposed buyout of Northwest Airlines Corp. would have on workers.

Wednesday's hearing in Washington before the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions subcommittee is to include witnesses.

Some employee representatives have expressed concerns about the ability of the combined airline to meet pension obligations.

Northwest is Michigan's biggest passenger air carrier.

Atlanta-based Delta announced April 14 a stock-swap deal to acquire Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest. The deal is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. A federal lawsuit filed by a group of passengers seeking to block the deal is scheduled for trial in November in San Francisco.
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Old July 31st, 2008, 08:25 AM   #388
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Delta to launch new Atlanta-Sao Paulo route

Delta Air Lines Inc. announced Tuesday it plans to offer a new seasonal nonstop flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting Dec. 20.

Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL) would operate the daytime flight three times weekly between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Guarulhos Airport, the carrier said. The route is subject to foreign government approval.

Flights would depart from Atlanta Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Flights would return to Atlanta on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. The service would be scheduled between Dec. 20 and Feb. 15

“For more than 20 years, Delta has served the Brazilian market successfully, and we are excited to continue to grow our presence in this market,” said Delta Vice President for Sales and Government Affairs Christophe Didier.

With high fuel prices straining all airlines, Delta has focused much of its economic recovery efforts on its planned merger with Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) and expansion of lucrative international routes.

The carrier plans to boost international capacity 14 percent overall, though some routes have seen cuts because of demand.

Much of the expansion has been focused on Latin America and South America.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/s...8/daily34.html
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Old July 31st, 2008, 08:29 AM   #389
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Delta to launch new Atlanta-Sao Paulo route

Delta Air Lines Inc. announced Tuesday it plans to offer a new seasonal nonstop flight between Atlanta and Sao Paulo, Brazil, starting Dec. 20.

Atlanta-based Delta (NYSE: DAL) would operate the daytime flight three times weekly between Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Guarulhos Airport, the carrier said. The route is subject to foreign government approval.

Flights would depart from Atlanta Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Flights would return to Atlanta on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. The service would be scheduled between Dec. 20 and Feb. 15

“For more than 20 years, Delta has served the Brazilian market successfully, and we are excited to continue to grow our presence in this market,” said Delta Vice President for Sales and Government Affairs Christophe Didier.

With high fuel prices straining all airlines, Delta has focused much of its economic recovery efforts on its planned merger with Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) and expansion of lucrative international routes.

The carrier plans to boost international capacity 14 percent overall, though some routes have seen cuts because of demand.

Much of the expansion has been focused on Latin America and South America.

http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/s...8/daily34.html
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Old August 2nd, 2008, 05:59 AM   #390
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Delta Redoes Mileage Plan For Its Fliers
31 July 2008
The New York Times

Delta Air Lines on Wednesday became the first major carrier to revamp its frequent-flier program, introducing a three-tier system that will require as many as 60,000 miles for a last-minute domestic coach ticket.

The changes will take effect in early September.

The move comes a day after Delta doubled, to $50, the fee it charges for checking a second bag and follows an earlier decision to impose a fuel surcharge of up to $50 for booking a ticket using miles.

Tim Winship, editor at large at SmarterTravel.com and a specialist on mileage plans, said it was too soon to tell whether other airlines would shift to three-tier mileage systems. But he was concerned that travelers would have a more difficult time booking award tickets.

''The real question is, what miles will people pay on a round-trip basis to take the trip they want to take? We don't know,'' Mr. Winship said. ''Certainly, the world doesn't need any more complexity when it comes to frequent-flier programs.''

Airlines are taking a variety of actions to generate revenue, imposing charges for checking bags, booking tickets and selecting seats.

Alaska Airlines announced a similar three-tier program last week that will take effect in November, but other big airlines have not yet made major changes to their programs.

Previously, Delta offered frequent-flier tickets for domestic coach travel at either 25,000 or 50,000 miles. Under the new system, travelers will need 25,000, 40,000 or 60,000 miles, depending on when they book their ticket, and where they are traveling.

Delta reinstated a feature called ''last seat,'' which allows a frequent flier to book any remaining seat on a plane, whether or not it is designated for a member of its mileage program.

These seats require 60,000 miles for domestic coach travel, and 100,000 miles in first class, the airline said. Delta first offered the feature in the early 1990s, but discontinued it in December.

Jeff Robertson, the managing director of Delta's SkyMiles program, said the number of miles issued by Delta had grown 24 percent from 2004 to 2007, but the number of seats available on its planes did not increase.

''The capacity is just not there,'' Mr. Robertson said.

Up to 80 percent of Delta's award tickets are issued for domestic travel, and most are not issued at the highest levels, Mr. Robertson said. ''But you have some customers who say, 'I want the last seat, and I'm willing to give you 60,000 for that.' ''

Under the new system, a basic coach ticket to Europe will cost a minimum of 60,000 miles, 90,000 or 125,000 miles for the last seat, compared with 50,000 and 100,000 in the past.

A premium class seat to Europe will require at least 100,000 miles and as many as 350,000 miles, compared with 90,000 to 250,000, but that old maximum level did not guarantee the last seat, Mr. Robertson said.

Details are available at http://www.delta.com/skymiles upgrades.

Tim Winship, editor at large at SmarterTravel.com and an expert on mileage plans, said it was too soon to tell whether other airlines would shift to three-tier mileage systems, But he was concerned that travelers would have a more difficult time booking award tickets.

''The real question is, what miles will people pay on a round-trip basis to take the trip they want to take? We don't know,'' Mr. Winship said. ''Certainly, the world doesn't need any more complexity when it comes to frequent flier programs.''
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Old August 4th, 2008, 05:45 AM   #391
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Delta Air Lines Gets Ready for a Grand Entrance into Tegucigalpa with a Brand-New Boeing 737-700WEBWIRE – Thursday, July 24, 2008
New daily nonstop service between Atlanta and Honduras’ capital city starts Dec.18, 2008

ATLANTA.– Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) will launch the first-ever nonstop dailyDelta 737-700 taking offflights between Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and Toncontin Airport in Honduras’ capital city of Tegucigalpa, starting Dec. 18, 2008 (subject to foreign government approval). The new flights will be operated using brand-new Boeing 737-700 aircraft being delivered to Delta this year that will allow the addition of service at unique airports such as Tegucigalpa with short runways, extreme temperatures and high altitudes.

“We’ve been looking forward to flying into Tegucigalpa for a long time, and the brand-new 737-700 aircraft makes it possible, complementing the long list of Central American destinations Delta serves,” said Delta’s Christophe Didier, vice president of Sales and Government Affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean. “Our flights to San Pedro Sula and Roatan have consistently performed well, and we are immensely optimistic to see Tegucigalpa become a great addition to our Honduras service.”

Delta inaugurated service to San Pedro Sula and Roatan in March 2006.

In celebration of the new Atlanta-Tegucigalpa service, Delta is offering customers a special one-way introductory fare of $329* for travel between Jan. 5 and March 31, 2009. Round-trip ticket purchase required. Tickets must be purchased by Aug. 4, 2008. Additional taxes/fees/restrictions/baggage charges may apply. Details are included below.

The new flight to Tegucigalpa is part of Delta’s ongoing international expansion, of which Latin America is a key component. Delta also will start flights between New York-JFK and Buenos Aires**, Argentina (Dec. 18); New York-JFK and Bonaire (Dec. 20); and Atlanta and Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic (Dec. 20). With the additional service to Tegucigalpa, Delta will offer over 340 weekly nonstop flights to more than 50 destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean from the airline’s largest Latin gateway at Atlanta.

Delta Air Lines operates service to more worldwide destinations than any airline with Delta and Delta Connection flights to 327 destinations in 62 countries. Delta has added more international capacity than any major U.S. airline during the last two years and is the leader across the Atlantic with flights to 44 trans-Atlantic markets. To Latin America and the Caribbean, Delta offers 609 weekly flights to 62 destinations. Delta’s marketing alliances also allow customers to earn and redeem SkyMiles on more than 16,000 flights offered by SkyTeam and other partners. Delta is a founding member of SkyTeam, a global airline alliance that provides customers with extensive worldwide destinations, flights and services. Including its SkyTeam and worldwide codeshare partners, Delta offers flights to 499 worldwide destinations in 105 countries. Customers can check in for flights, print boarding passes and check flight status at delta.com.
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Old August 5th, 2008, 06:58 PM   #392
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Delta to offer Wi-Fi on mainline domestic fleet
5 August 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday it will offer broadband wireless Internet access on its entire domestic mainline fleet by the middle of next year.

The Atlanta-based company said Wi-Fi service will be offered for a fee to customers traveling throughout the continental U.S.

The nation's No. 3 carrier is partnering with Aircell, an airborne communications provider, to install the network on Delta's domestic fleet of more than 330 aircraft.

The system will allow Delta customers traveling with Wi-Fi enabled devices -- such as laptops, smartphones and PDAs -- to access the Internet while in flight.

A flat fee of $9.95 will be charged on flights of three hours or less, and $12.95 on flights of more than three hours.

The service will be offered initially on Delta's fleet of 133 MD88/90 aircraft and will expand to the remaining domestic fleet of more than 200 Boeing 737, 757 and 767-300 aircraft during the first half of 2009. It expects to have the technology installed on its entire domestic fleet by next summer.

Financial terms of Delta's agreement with Aircell were not released. The airline did not say how much it expects to generate in revenue by offering the service on its mainline domestic flights. It also did not say in a statement what its plans are, if any, for offering Wi-Fi service on international flights.
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Old August 7th, 2008, 01:39 PM   #393
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European regulators approve Delta-Northwest deal
6 August 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - European regulators said Wednesday they have cleared Delta Air Lines Inc.'s proposed acquisition of Northwest Airlines Corp.

The European Commission said in a statement that after examining the operation, it concluded that the transaction would "not significantly impede effective competition in the European Economic Area or any substantial part of it."

Atlanta-based Delta still needs Justice Department approval and the approval of its shareholders and the shareholders at Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest, Michigan's largest passenger air carrier.

Delta announced April 14 its stock-swap deal to acquire Northwest and create the world's largest carrier in terms of traffic.

Delta has hubs in Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York and Salt Lake City. It is a member of the SkyTeam alliance and flies to 119 international destinations including 32 cities in the European Union territory.

Northwest has hubs in Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis and Tokyo. It is also a member of SkyTeam alliance and flies to 50 international destinations including 15 cities in the European Union territory.

The commission said in its statement that it took into account the fact that Delta and Northwest already cooperate extensively on trans-Atlantic routes with the European SkyTeam member airlines, namely Air France, KLM, CSA Czech Airlines and Alitalia.

It said the two airlines' activities in the scheduled air transport of passengers on trans-Atlantic routes are mainly complementary as they have hubs in different U.S. cities. Most of the overlap activities relate to routes where one party offers direct and the other indirect services, the commission said.

It added that there are only three routes in its territory where both parties offer direct service, namely Amsterdam/Atlanta, Amsterdam/New York and Paris/Detroit.

"The commission has concluded that the present transaction would not raise competition concerns," the statement said.

European antitrust authorities are also working with U.S. officials to examine how airlines cooperating through SkyTeam and other alliances -- OneWorld and Star Alliance -- affect the industry. They will report back in mid-2009.

--AP Business Writer Aoife White in Brussels contributed to this story.
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Old August 27th, 2008, 07:05 AM   #394
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WSJ: Delta Air Lines To Tap $1 Billion Credit Line
25 August 2008
Dow Jones News Service

Delta Air Lines Inc. (DAL) on Monday tapped a $1 billion loan ahead of its planned merger with Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWA) and said it had renegotiated agreements with credit card processors to ensure that sales revenues continue to be turned over promptly.

In a letter sent to employees, Ed Bastian, Delta's president and chief financial officer, said the draw, which is part of a credit line that was made available to the airline upon its exit from bankruptcy court protection last year, will help Delta "increase our cash balance as we approach the closing of the merger." The company, he added, had $3.7 billion in cash at the end of July, including the $1 billion option exercised Monday, and is comfortable with liquidity through the end of the year.

The loan, the company said, would be reported in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission overnight.

As airlines struggle with the recent run-up in fuel prices, maintaining a strong cash position is essential to ensure that day-to-day operational needs and short-term financial obligations can be met. The decision to tap the credit line, however, "was not for any operating need," said Bastian in an interview. Rather, it ensures "full financial flexibility" to move forward with the Northwest merger and the "alignment" of the two airlines' credit agreements.

Atlanta-based Delta in April announced plans to merge with Northwest, of Eagan, Minn., and expects to close the transaction by the end of the year, once antitrust regulators have completed their review of the deal. Integration costs for the transaction, the airlines said last month, would total about $600 million. At the end of the year, Delta and Northwest combined are expected to have about $6 billion in cash, Bastian said.

Delta on Monday also told employees the airline had renegotiated its credit card agreements through the end of 2011 to ensure that credit card processors don't begin to "hold back" any of the revenue they collect from the airline's ticket sales. Credit card processors generally turn over sales revenue promptly, but the concern about holdbacks has grown in the industry since Frontier Airlines Holdings Inc. (FRNTQ), the Denver-based discounter, blamed new restrictions from its processors as a key reason when it filed for Chapter 11 in April.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 09:37 PM   #395
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Improvement's in the bag:
Airline spends millions on its baggage handling system at Hartsfield-Jackson to improve its "bottom tier" performance.

13 September 2008
The Atlanta Journal - Constitution

Delta Air Lines has completed the first phase of $100 million in improvements for baggage handling using tunnels and technology at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. And the airline says some of the changes have already cut back on baggage problems.

The Atlanta-based airline, the largest carrier at Hartsfield-Jackson, generally performs worse in baggage handling than other major carriers.

"Our baggage performance has been bottom tier," acknowledged Delta senior vice president of airport customer service Gil West.

In July 2007, for example, Delta had 9.29 reports of mishandled bags per 1,000 passengers, including lost, delayed, damaged and pilfered bags, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Delta improved its baggage handling performance by 39 percent this July, according to the U.S. DOT --- to 5.65 reports per 1,000 passengers. But Delta still ranks well below the leading carrier, Northwest, which had 3.09 reports per 1,000 passengers.

Baggage handling is a factor that passengers use "to judge whether or not airlines fulfilled their promise," said Dean Headley, co-author of the Airline Quality Rating and associate professor of marketing at Wichita State University. Airlines have "upped the ante on the performance because now they're charging people" to check bags. Delta has increased its charge for checking a second bag to $50, while other airlines have started charging for first and second checked bags.

Part of Delta's problem with baggage handling has been outdated technology and decades-old infrastructure in Atlanta, Delta's largest hub where it operates about 1,000 flights a day. Delta will handle more than 30 million bags this year at Hartsfield-Jackson.

With recently installed conveyors, new baggage scanning systems and more work under way, Delta is hoping to narrow the gap, said Greg Kennedy, Delta's Atlanta hub vice president of airport customer service.

Over the summer, Delta finished a conveyor system using a tunnel that runs from the terminal to the south side of the B Concourse. The tunnels have been vacant since the failure of Eastern Airlines. The conveyors allow Delta to free up space in the congested terminal basement.

Now under construction in the bowels of the airport is a conveyor system to the north side of the B Concourse to be tested for bugs and completed by the end of this year.

The new system is expected to help the airline significantly improve its baggage handling by directing bags to a larger system of carousels for sorting. "We'll really see the benefits kicking in next year," West said. The five miles of conveyors are being built by Vanderlande Industries, which has its North America headquarters in Marietta. The conveyors allow bags that are awaiting connecting flights for more than two hours to be distributed at the right time, instead of being stored for later flights for workers to retrieve. Delta said it does not plan to cut staff because of the new infrastructure, but will be able to move more staff to other areas as a result.

The conveyors also cut back on some of the hassles of dealing with congestion above ground, where baggage-handling tugs must navigate across the tarmac and taxiways along with airplanes and other vehicles. Like crowded Atlanta roads, the traffic at the airport can make a trip take longer, all while airplanes are on tight schedules for takeoff.

Delta also put in place earlier this year a system to scan bags as they're loaded onto planes, which other airlines have had for years to better pinpoint where missing bags went astray.

In the works is a system to track bags through other points of their journey, including through bag rooms. After its proposed merger with Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines, Delta plans to add technology from Northwest to detect when scanned bags are being loaded onto the wrong plane.

"As we work to improve our processes, we're playing catch-up to some degree to the rest of the industry," Kennedy said.
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Old September 13th, 2008, 11:36 PM   #396
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It's about time. Bagage handling at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is horrible.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 09:40 AM   #397
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i normally steer clear of delta. but then i realize the other big carriers are just as bad. that, plus connecting at delta's atlanta hub is still preferable to connecting at o'hare or dfw. so in a sense, delta's the least evil of the litter. good for them though, hopefully the passengers have a better experience.
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Old September 14th, 2008, 10:46 AM   #398
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I've been flying a lot with Delta recently. I think that they are really good. 12 flights last summer, biggest delay: 10 mins. Normally I have more delays.
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Old September 18th, 2008, 12:02 PM   #399
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Judge: No depositions of other CEOs in Delta suit
17 September 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - A federal judge says a lawyer for 28 air travelers suing to block Delta Air Lines Inc.'s acquisition of Northwest Airlines Corp. cannot question the chief executives of four other major carriers about their views on airline industry consolidation.

An electronic docket entry in the case filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco says the request to allow depositions of the CEOs of American Airlines, Continental Airlines, US Airways and United Airlines has been denied.

The Delta-Northwest stock-swap deal announced April 14 would create the world's largest carrier in terms of traffic.

Northwest is Michigan's largest passenger air carrier.
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Old September 22nd, 2008, 01:05 PM   #400
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Delta Air Lines expects slightly less cash on hand by year-end than previously forecast
18 September 2008

ATLANTA (AP) - Delta Air Lines Inc., the nation's third-largest carrier, said Thursday it expects to end the year with slightly less cash on hand that previously forecast.

The Atlanta-based company updated investors on its financial situation before an analyst conference in New York at which President and Chief Financial Officer Ed Bastian spoke.

At the conference, Bastian said Delta expects its third-quarter results to be in the range of break even toward a modest loss. He didn't offer specific figures.

Delta, which plans to acquire Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp. in a stock-swap deal expected to be completed by the end of the year, said in a regulatory filing that it projects it will end the fourth quarter with $3.1 billion in liquidity, including a fully drawn $1 billion credit line.

In June, the company forecast it would end the year with $3.2 billion in liquidity, including the credit line, which at that time it had not yet tapped.

Delta had $3.7 billion in liquidity at the end of July, including the credit line.

Bastian said Delta and Northwest combined are projected to have $6 billion in cash by the end of the year. He said cash preservation is a priority and both companies have been looking at new opportunities.

He said Delta does not expect to take a hit from fuel hedging in the third quarter like what United Airlines forecast Wednesday. At the same time, Bastian said that with respect to fuel hedges currently in place Delta in the near term won't be able to take advantage of the recent significant drop in the market price for fuel.

Bastian said that Delta is projecting passenger revenue per available seat mile to be up 9 percent to 10 percent in the third quarter, which ends Sept. 30.

Delta, like other airlines, has been cutting capacity and making other changes to its business to deal with hefty fuel prices.

Bastian said Delta expects to hear soon from the Department of Justice on its findings related to the combination with Northwest. He did not elaborate.
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