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WSJ Article On Delta  
User currently offlineMountainFlyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2053 times:

In light of recent threads discussing both the old aircraft strategy at DL as well as wondering what DL has done right I found this very informative WSJ article. A lot of it contains information we have already talked about, but it's a clear, concise article with a lot of good information for those curious minds such as my own.

Fair use quote:

Quote:
The nation's second biggest carrier stunned the industry by becoming the first airline to buy an oil refinery, in a bid to trim its highest and most volatile operating cost, aviation fuel. It runs a huge maintenance subsidiary that tends to its own planes and does third-party work, while other airlines have scaled down or bailed out of that business. And the Atlanta company has retained its status as the only major U.S. airline that is mostly nonunionized, giving it more flexibility than its rivals even as it pays most workers more.
Delta Flies New Route to Profits: Older Jets

[Edited 2012-11-17 18:20:08 by SA7700]


SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
39 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31420 posts, RR: 85
Reply 1, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2068 times:
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Honestly, as a short-term (10 years or less) program, it's probably a fair idea.

The vast majority of passengers don't know how old an airframe is and if it has a new interior, they'll perceive it as being "new". And for frequent fliers, adding older planes with brand new interiors and new amenities (like WiFi) is likely seen in a positive light.

As the article notes, fuel and maintenance prices can become crippling with older planes, which is why I see this as a short-term trick to allow DL to add capacity without significant capital expenditures that could also crush them if traffic collapses.


User currently offlinepanamair From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 4974 posts, RR: 25
Reply 2, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 2069 times:
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Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
that could also crush them if traffic collapses.

ah, but because these planes have low acquisition costs, they can afford to outright purchase and own many of them, which means they can easily park them when traffic collapses. You don't have that luxury when you have many brand spanking new expensive planes which you have leased....the lease payments will have to continue even if you can't fill those planes....We have already seen this with the DC9s...because they owned many of them, they simply parked them when they had to cut capacity due to the oil spike in recent years...


User currently offlineMountainFlyer From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 477 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2064 times:

Maybe I'm looking at this too simplistically, but theoretically, even if DL realized $0 salvage value on these older planes (thinking mainly of the MD-90's and 717's), they are acquiring them so cheap relative to brand new aircraft that they would still come out way ahead compared to the depreciated value of a new aircraft sold on the used market. Yes, at some point maintenance and fuel will catch up with that, but it would have to be a huge increase in costs, mostly maintenance, since these are not exactly "inefficient" aircraft. Am I missing something?

In an exaggerated analogy, to me it's a lot like buying a $2,000 used car that needs maintenance, but works. Even if you put $3,000 of maintenance into it and it only gets 20 mpg, you're still coming out way ahead of just depreciation of a brand new compact car over say two years, not to mention the lower insurance and registration costs.

At any rate we've discussed the capex strategy a lot, but getting back to the article, it singles out the DL aircraft strategy especially, but I thought it pointed out a lot of how DL differs from its peers not in just asset management but other strategies as well. It will be interesting to see how these unique strategies all play out. DL is playing with a lot of variables at once; capex strategy, oil refinery strategy, maintenance strategy. Some have been tried before (NW did the old aircraft thing), some not (oil refinery).



SA-227; B1900; Q200; Q400; CRJ-2,7,9; 717; 727-2; 737-3,4,5,7,8,9; 747-2; 757-2,3; 767-3,4; MD-90; A319, 320; DC-9; DC-1
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31420 posts, RR: 85
Reply 4, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2063 times:
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Quoting panamair (Reply 4):

Which is what I meant.  

I should have phrased it as "DL to add capacity without significant capital expenditures (as said capital expenditures for new aircraft could also crush them if traffic collapses).


User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4417 posts, RR: 19
Reply 5, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

The comedic irony in all of this is that Northwest employed this as one of its primary business strategies, and the airline was basically forced to merge itself off post haste in 2008 because the strategy backfired bigtime, leaving Northwest with massive fleet replacement needs more-or-less all at once in an environment of high fuel costs and tight credit.


Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineyellowtail From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 6350 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2062 times:

this hails back to the good ole days of American industry, when you tried to own every part of the industry....a business style that made Rockerfeller and Morgan famous.


When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No-one has ever collided with the sky.
User currently offlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 7, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 2059 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 7):
The comedic irony in all of this is that Northwest employed this as one of its primary business strategies, and the airline was basically forced to merge itself off post haste in 2008 because the strategy backfired bigtime, leaving Northwest with massive fleet replacement needs more-or-less all at once in an environment of high fuel costs and tight credit.

I feel this differs somewhat from the way it played out at NW. DL is buying used but rather efficient aircraft as well as buying new aircraft to keep the fleet renewed without breaking the bank. High fuel costs should not hurt the MD90 or B717 fleets.


User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4229 posts, RR: 37
Reply 8, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 2062 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 7):

The comedic irony in all of this is that Northwest employed this as one of its primary business strategies, and the airline was basically forced to merge itself off post haste in 2008 because the strategy backfired bigtime, leaving Northwest with massive fleet replacement needs more-or-less all at once in an environment of high fuel costs and tight credit.

That was not at all the reason for the merger... the two airlines were a perfect fit- each was strong where the other was weak.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7768 posts, RR: 27
Reply 9, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

Quoting B757forever (Reply 9):
I feel this differs somewhat from the way it played out at NW. DL is buying used but rather efficient aircraft as well as buying new aircraft to keep the fleet renewed without breaking the bank. High fuel costs should not hurt the MD90 or B717 fleets.

Agreed. The difference here is DL is acquiring second-hand aircraft, these aircraft are not "old / older" as the article would imply. NW was acquiring aircraft that were already 20+ years old, with the intent of flying them to 30 years old (DC-10), or 35-40 years (DC-9)

The MD90 and 717s are generally 8-17 years old and still have 10-15-20 years of remaining economic life.

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 10):
That was not at all the reason for the merger... the two airlines were a perfect fit- each was strong where the other was weak.

Exactly. NWs fleet was not what led to the merger. Network was the biggest driving factor.


User currently offlinewoodsboy From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 1031 posts, RR: 2
Reply 10, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2059 times:

Quoting B757forever (Reply 9):
I feel this differs somewhat from the way it played out at NW. DL is buying used but rather efficient aircraft as well as buying new aircraft to keep the fleet renewed without breaking the bank. High fuel costs should not hurt the MD90 or B717 fleets.

I totally agree and the WSJ article should have made more of a point here. DL isnt buying DC-9-50s which obviously would have higher fuel costs and more MX than the rest of the fleet but WE all know that the MD-90 compares very favorably with the 738 and the 717 is about as efficient as it gets and occupies a segment in which it is about the only "current"-ish model that exists. Fuel wont be the issue with the MD90 and 717 fleet, perhaps the first issues that would arise are parts. Both models were the end of the line for MDC so I see that as the only significant future issue. Of course DL has DeltaTechOPS and they are super experienced so lets not worry for now.

One funny thing- The FAA agrees that a plane can fly safely for 30 years? Really? 30 years? Tell that to the thousands of planes still out there flying pax and cargo that are much older than that, not to mention G/A aircraft. They should have said something about cycles & hours since those are the limiting factor of an air frame. Right here in Fairbanks DC-6s fly in and out every day and many of those planes are near 60 years old but were acquired as ex-USAF and Navy planes with only a handful of hours on the air frames. I remember a particular C-118 that Evert's flew up from Davis-Monthan that has been in storage since 1972 and had accumulated only 940 hours at the time it was stored.


User currently offlinen471wn From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1603 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2059 times:
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Bottom line is congrats to Delta for doing the math on aircraft. It is gratifying for them (as well as Allegaint) to have figured out that an older a/c is a wise investment when the acquisiton cost is low.....other airlines should pay attention to this!!

User currently offlineMSPNWA From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 2021 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2059 times:

The older aircraft strategy can work as long as you're working with relatively current generation technology. It's when you're flying long obsolete aircraft, like NW was, that it comes back to bite you. So I predict DL to be competitive with this strategy for another 5-10 years. After that I doubt it will sustain itself at its current capacity. It's a short-term model.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 3):
As the article notes, fuel and maintenance prices can become crippling with older planes, which is why I see this as a short-term trick to allow DL to add capacity without significant capital expenditures that could also crush them if traffic collapses.

I agree. However there's a downside in case of economic struggles, and NW in the 2000s is a perfect case of this. Primarily owning a large fleet of older, less efficient aircraft certainly is an expense advantage if you have to park excess capacity. But here's the problem: It forces you into a situation where you have no choice but to shrink the airline, likely for quite some time. I fondly remember not too long ago when NW was the 4th-largest carrier, ahead of CO. When the mid-2000s struggles hit, and the subsequent bankruptcy, NW shrank markedly. A big reason was because they couldn't just send those DC-9s and DC-10s back into the fleet. And NW didn't have the money to buy new aircraft on a 1 for 1 basis. Some DC-9s were replaced by the CR9s and E75s, but that didn't come close to covering the capacity lost. End result: A now profitable but smaller airline that was eaten up. It's a good thing the fuel crises didn't hit NW earlier. That would have been a disaster.


User currently offlineavek00 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 4417 posts, RR: 19
Reply 13, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2058 times:

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 10):
That was not at all the reason for the merger... the two airlines were a perfect fit- each was strong where the other was weak.

There is a difference in the rationales for a merger vs. the rationales for seeking a merger. We're both correct here - the merger rationale was the good fit of the combined networks, and one of Northwest's primary rationales for seeking the merger was the inability to deal with its fleet constraints (especially in terms of replacements) in its then-existing form.



Live life to the fullest.
User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1010 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2061 times:

Money aside, what is interesting is that the article does not talk about what it feels like to fly around in older vs newer aircraft. Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product. I'm not saying DL hasn't made the right financial moves to secure its future (it most definitely has), but there can be a trade-off in terms of perceived comfort if you're flying older planes. Somehow, the long trip I'm taking just isn't as special when the aircraft I'm on is old and boring or even refurbished and boring. When I fly the A380, for example, the idea of global travel comes alive in my mind, and disembarking through the top jetbridge is unforgettable, even as others take it for granted. We should never forget that long-haul international travel is still a luxury, and I believe it should feel special, even if it costs a little extra. It's a shame money is such a priority these days; we have only a short while on this planet, and much can be missed in the company of frugality.

User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31420 posts, RR: 85
Reply 15, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 2058 times:
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Quoting MSPNWA (Reply 14):
However there's a downside in case of economic struggles, and NW in the 2000s is a perfect case of this. Primarily owning a large fleet of older, less efficient aircraft certainly is an expense advantage if you have to park excess capacity. But here's the problem: It forces you into a situation where you have no choice but to shrink the airline, likely for quite some time.

The article did note that DL was using the saved money to reduce debt and raise their debt rating so if they do have to retire planes during a downtime, they might be in a position to add new planes when conditions improve thanks to a strong(er) credit rating.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product.

I'd argue the 767 would be more comfortable as it would be 2+3+2 in Economy versus 2+4+2 on the A330. And in Business Class, you have lie-flat on the 767 (those upgraded to the Thompson Solutions Vantage product) versus angled-flat on the A330.  


User currently offlinePGNCS From United States of America, joined Apr 2007, 2858 posts, RR: 48
Reply 16, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2058 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product.

How? The overwhelming number of passengers don't know or care.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
When I fly the A380, for example, the idea of global travel comes alive in my mind, and disembarking through the top jetbridge is unforgettable, even as others take it for granted. We should never forget that long-haul international travel is still a luxury

It's a commodity. The vast majority of passengers do not know or care what kind of plane they will be flying on with rare exception.

Quoting Stitch (Reply 17):
Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product.
I'd argue the 767 would be more comfortable as it would be 2+3+2 in Economy versus 2+4+2 on the A330. And in Business Class, you have lie-flat on the 767 (those upgraded to the Thompson Solutions Vantage product) versus angled-flat on the A330.

As much as I would prefer to fly the 330 and find them very comparable as a passenger, if anything the average coach passenger will prefer 2-3-2. That is the one real redeeming thing the 767 has going for it, and passengers do like it; i've stood in the door enough times saying goodbye after a 10 hour flight to know.


User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7978 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2060 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 7):

The comedic irony in all of this is that Northwest employed this as one of its primary business strategies,

There is a HUGE difference between MD-90s/717s and DC-9-30s/40s/50s/DC-10s...



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7768 posts, RR: 27
Reply 18, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2060 times:

Quoting avek00 (Reply 15):
There is a difference in the rationales for a merger vs. the rationales for seeking a merger. We're both correct here - the merger rationale was the good fit of the combined networks, and one of Northwest's primary rationales for seeking the merger was the inability to deal with its fleet constraints (especially in terms of replacements) in its then-existing form.

NW had a plan in place post-bankruptcy to deal with its fleet renewal.
The widebody fleet was in good position with the A330 & 744s and 787 order (in hindsight now realizing how long it would've taken for them to get on-property.

NW had the order for CR9 & E175 and a plan in place to get down to ~30 DC-9-30/40 by the end of 2008, plus the 34 DC-9-50s.

The merger due-dilligence and talks started back in 2007, before the cost of fuel ran up in 2008 and before the credit crisis.

The only major unanswered question was how would NW replace the remaining ~30 DC-9-30/40s, but DL didn't end up finally retiring the bulk of those aircraft until late 2010/early 2011.

Meanwhile a good portion of the DC-9-50s still soldier on, flying the line.


User currently offlineCaspian27 From United States of America, joined Mar 2005, 383 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2060 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 18):
Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 16):
Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product.

How? The overwhelming number of passengers don't know or care.

The 767 overhead bins are terrible though compared to the 330's. That matters to some people.



Meanwhile, somewhere 35,000 ft above your head...
User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7768 posts, RR: 27
Reply 20, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 2058 times:

Quoting Caspian27 (Reply 21):
The 767 overhead bins are terrible though compared to the 330's. That matters to some people.

How many people are booking away from DL 767s because of the overhead bins? really?


User currently offlineairtechy From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 520 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 1 month 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2058 times:

I avoid the 330 at all costs in business class because of the seats. When reclined they totally block access in the window seats behind ... much more so than other older business seats. What were they thinking when they designed these things? Can't wait for Delta to upgrade these to lie-flats with direct aisle access.

Renewing older aircraft with new interiors was an extremely smart move. While the need for 400? channels of entertainment is lost on me, I really like the new seats and their arrangement.

Jim


User currently offlineusdcaguy From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 1010 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 2057 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 18):
It's a commodity. The vast majority of passengers do not know or care what kind of plane they will be flying on with rare exception.

Yes, we all know price and schedule drive everything, but many people will actually go out of their way to fly on a particular aircraft, and the savvy travelers I talk to will actually alter their route to fly on the carrier and aircraft they want to be on. That may not represent everyone, but the preference exists among a certain set of knowledgeable travelers. Personally, I will connect domestically if it means getting a better aircraft across the pond. DL can still benefit as it does offer good equipment on certain routes and codeshares with its partners who fly newer aircraft. I have not flown the refurbished 744s, but I plan to do so in a few months and will see what they're like.

Quoting airtechy (Reply 23):
I avoid the 330 at all costs in business class because of the seats. When reclined they totally block access in the window seats behind ... much more so than other older business seats. What were they thinking when they designed these things? Can't wait for Delta to upgrade these to lie-flats with direct aisle access.

I completely agree. I don't like how they took away the NW cloth seats and covered them with leather, which always seems to be coming off the seats. The newer seats on the KL A330 are some of the best in my book, although you don't have direct aisle access.

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 18):
As much as I would prefer to fly the 330 and find them very comparable as a passenger, if anything the average coach passenger will prefer 2-3-2.

Yes, that is the main advantage of the 767 in coach. The refurbishment of the seats, however, is more than welcome.


User currently offlinefanoftristars From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 1615 posts, RR: 5
Reply 23, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 2228 times:

Delta's refurbished 767s would appear to be brand new to the average flyer. My roommate was on one to Accra and told me "we flew on one of Delta's new planes!" He liked it better than the A-330 from AMS. He knows nothing about planes and I would say is a typical passenger. Though I'd love to see some 787s in the DL fleet, their strategy is solid.




"FLY DELTA JETS"
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1790 posts, RR: 7
Reply 24, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2245 times:

Quoting XFSUgimpLB41X (Reply 10):

That was not at all the reason for the merger... the two airlines were a perfect fit- each was strong where the other was weak.

Surely you are not saying that is mere coincidence that:

1. Delta's CEO Richard Anderson was the former Northwest CEO. He knew the stengths and weaknesses of both carriers.
2. Both airlines declared bankruptcy in the same New York Court on the same day.
3. Delta had an instant plan for merging the two carriers, which NWA employees to keep and who at DL to dump.
4. The merger plan was implemented instantly with preassigned dates for things like having the fleet painted, all emoloyees in DL uniforms on the same date (no mean feat in itself), all DL signage in place and a date for a single operating certificate. They hit every date direct on target.

This merger was a deal in the making for YEARS. I can't wait until the book come out that tells the real story!



Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
User currently offlineDeltaMD90 From United States of America, joined Apr 2008, 7978 posts, RR: 51
Reply 25, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2354 times:

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
This merger was a deal in the making for YEARS.

To be fair, I don't think anything was 100% certain. Airlines do things like this all the time. It is highly doubtful DL will buy AA's MIA hub, but I can assure you they already have a plan to fully integrate it.

I'm sure DL had similar plans for UA and other airlines, and only as the DL-NW merger approached did the NW plans get more detailed and the UA plans get thrown aside



Ironically I have never flown a Delta MD-90 :)
User currently offlinedelta2ual From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 626 posts, RR: 1
Reply 26, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2329 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 27):
I'm sure DL had similar plans for UA and other airlines, and only as the DL-NW merger approached did the NW plans get more detailed and the UA plans get thrown aside

Entirely another topic, but it's interesting you brought that up. I was speaking to 2 friends from UA who work at Willis and they told me they wished UA had merged with DL (I'm sure many of my friends from NW wish that too LOL). You are correct in that every airline was talking all the time about possible mergers. I remember reading an article about DL and CO coming very close at one time but they couldn't agree on a few details. As close as CO and NW were (especially with the golden share) I was certain NW and CO would merge, leaving DL and UA. It's fun to think what could have been:

NW & CO: NRT/GUM/MEM/MSP/DTW/IAH/CLE/EWR and probably large ops in SEA/LAX
DL & UA: SFO/LAX/SLC/DEN/ORD/CVG/ATL/IAD/JFK/LGA and probably large ops in SEA



From the world's largest airline-to the world's largest airline. Delta2ual
User currently offlineFI642 From Monaco, joined Mar 2005, 1079 posts, RR: 2
Reply 27, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2364 times:

Quoting n471wn (Reply 13):
Bottom line is congrats to Delta for doing the math on aircraft. It is gratifying for them (as well as Allegaint) to have figured out that an older a/c is a wise investment when the acquisiton cost is low.....other airlines should pay attention to this!!

I completely agree!



737MAX, Cool Planes for the Worlds Coolest Airline.
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4229 posts, RR: 37
Reply 28, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 2379 times:

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):
Surely you are not saying that is mere coincidence that:

1. Delta's CEO Richard Anderson was the former Northwest CEO. He knew the stengths and weaknesses of both carriers.
2. Both airlines declared bankruptcy in the same New York Court on the same day.
3. Delta had an instant plan for merging the two carriers, which NWA employees to keep and who at DL to dump.
4. The merger plan was implemented instantly with preassigned dates for things like having the fleet painted, all emoloyees in DL uniforms on the same date (no mean feat in itself), all DL signage in place and a date for a single operating certificate. They hit every date direct on target.

This merger was a deal in the making for YEARS. I can't wait until the book come out that tells the real story!

Where would you get that I was saying it was mere coincidence?

1. As soon as Anderson came over, I had a pretty distinct hunch- particularly when the new paint scheme came out.
2. That's possible, but also possibly reaching.
3. The plan developed over quite a few months.. it certainly wasn't instant and not near as simple as what you describe.
4. The merger plan also took a while to develop... it took over 2 years to implement as well. They learned from the mistakes of USair particularly. The fact is that it was exceptionally well managed.



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineusairways787 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 290 posts, RR: 2
Reply 29, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 2327 times:

Quoting MountainFlyer (Thread starter):
giving it more flexibility than its rivals even as it pays most workers more.

I find this interesting...If they are comparing our payscale to other airlines because Delta gave them a sheet, they need to actually run the numbers, because our pay ins't exactly in line with a lot of airlines.



"Pre departure walk around complete, all doors closed, ready for pushback"
User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1790 posts, RR: 7
Reply 30, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2321 times:

IMHO Anderson left NW suddenly and went to UnitedHealthCare as CEO because he had taken all the cuts he could without touching the employees.

Doug Steenland was brought in to do the dirty work--put the airline In Chapter 11, abrogate the contracts, slash pay rates, terminate the pension plans and, in short, to be the bad guy. It's a crappy job but somebody had to do it. But in all fairness he did NOT turn the pension plans at NW over to the PBGC.They just froze where they were. DL did dump their pensions and they have that nasty social security offset which kills lower level employees.

Richard comes out a few years later taking a quiet seat on the board at DL and gee, what a surprise, is suddenly named CEO. He is a very competent, likable guy that appears to be honest on a one on one level. I have met and spoken with him on numerous occasions. He is approachable, insists that you call him Richard, is responsive and has gone out of his way to make this merger work with as little drama as possible.

For example, the NW f/a's were AFA members. Of course, DL had no union. AFA refused to even RESPOND to the DL seniority merger committee's request to meet and talk. Then they (the DL merger committee) came forward and said "how about we merge based on straight date of hire." Nothing could have been more fair and really helped the NW folks to buy into the DL image. Instantly fears were gone and we could talk as equals.

But, again, IMHO, the one greatest feat was achieving a tenable pilot contract between the two groups quickly and with (relatively little) animosity prior to the final merge. They are a tough bunch that protect themselves at all costs. Not that that is a bad thing--they have incredible unity (usually). There is some grumbling about "career expectations" and which seat on what airplane they will sit in but no one is complaining about their salaries.

As f/a's, the pilots are at the head of the chain of command--I just wish more of us would follow their lead off the airplane as well as onboard. They are savvy folks who know what they are doing--we tend to deal from a more "emotional" level.

BTW, just as a matter of interest, guess which company has the contract for all DL employees healthcare?



Qualified on Concorde/B707/B720/B727/B737/B747/B757/B767/B777/DC-8/DC-9/DC-10/A319/A320/A330/MD-88-90
User currently offlineB757forever From United States of America, joined May 2010, 438 posts, RR: 3
Reply 31, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2288 times:

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 32):
DL did dump their pensions

Only the DL pilot pensions went to the PBGC. The others were frozen.


User currently offlineWA707atMSP From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 2264 posts, RR: 8
Reply 32, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 2271 times:

I think this is a very well thought out strategy, but I also think it also works better now, when there are still relatively low cycle DC-9 derivative aircraft available, than it will ten years from now.

The DC-9s (and DC-9 derivatives like the MD-80, MD-90, and 717) are truly the DC-3s of the jet age - ruggedly built, and almost indestructible as long as they are properly maintained. The strength of the DC-9-30 is a big reason why late 1960s build aircraft remained in service with NW / DL long after 737-200s built around the same time had been retired by other airlines.

The A320 series and 737 are not as rugged as the DC-9 / MD-80 / MD-90 / 717, so I think it's unlikely that DL will be buying used A319s or 737-700s from other airlines ten years from now the way they have bought used MD-90s. At some point once buying used MD-90s / 717s is no longer an option, DL's fleet strategy will have to go the way of the strategies of DL's competitors.



Seaholm Maples are #1!
User currently offlineaviateur From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 1360 posts, RR: 11
Reply 33, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 2265 times:

Quoting PGNCS (Reply 16):
The vast majority of passengers do not know or care what kind of plane they will be flying on with rare exception.

That's a fact.

Many people don't even realize what AIRLINE they're flying on half the time!.........

"I just got back from London?"

"Really, who did you fly on?"

"Virgin Air [sic]. Or, no, wait, I think it was British Air [sic]."



PS



Patrick Smith is an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author
User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10655 posts, RR: 14
Reply 34, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 2256 times:

Quoting DeltaMD90 (Reply 25):
Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 26):This merger was a deal in the making for YEARS.
To be fair, I don't think anything was 100% certain. Airlines do things like this all the time. It is highly doubtful DL will buy AA's MIA hub, but I can assure you they already have a plan to fully integrate it.

I'm sure DL had similar plans for UA and other airlines, and only as the DL-NW merger approached did the NW plans get more detailed and the UA plans get thrown aside

In the first half of the first decade of the 00s, there was serious talk of a merger between DL and CO. IIRC, it was AFTER 9/11.

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 30):
BTW, just as a matter of interest, guess which company has the contract for all DL employees healthcare?

Convenient coincidence, but it was also the healthcare provider for DL BEFORE Richard was on the scene at United Healthcare.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 7
Reply 35, posted (2 years 1 month 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 2249 times:

Quoting Caspian27 (Reply 19):
The 767 overhead bins are terrible though compared to the 330's. That matters to some people.

They're fixing that right now.

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 22):
Yes, we all know price and schedule drive everything, but many people will actually go out of their way to fly on a particular aircraft, and the savvy travelers I talk to will actually alter their route to fly on the carrier and aircraft they want to be on

What percentage of the flying public would you gether that group to be?

Quoting DTWPurserBoy (Reply 30):
But in all fairness he did NOT turn the pension plans at NW over to the PBGC.They just froze where they were. DL did dump their pensions and they have that nasty social security offset which kills lower level employees.

That's actually incorrect. Only the pilot plan is under government administration. Everyone else, under-funded as DL has it today; it's not under the PBGC.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineStitch From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 31420 posts, RR: 85
Reply 36, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2224 times:
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Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 35):
What percentage of the flying public would you gether that group to be?

Probably those on mileage runs or who don't care when they depart or arrive.  


User currently offlineakelley728 From United States of America, joined Dec 1999, 2194 posts, RR: 5
Reply 37, posted (2 years 1 month 3 days 6 hours ago) and read 2178 times:

Quoting usdcaguy (Reply 14):

Money aside, what is interesting is that the article does not talk about what it feels like to fly around in older vs newer aircraft. Perhaps for short hops it matters less, but I think there is a vast difference in the feel of say, a 767 vs an A330 on long-haul flights, even when both planes have the same hard product

That's because the article deals with facts, not "feelings". But if you really need to go there, I would say 99% of the traveling public would say the "feel" of a refurbished 767er at Delta is better than their A330s!

Quoting Caspian27 (Reply 19):
The 767 overhead bins are terrible though compared to the 330's. That matters to some people.

You do realize that the bins on the Delta's 767ERs have been replaced with modern pivot bins (see pic in reply 23) and that the Boeing Sky Interior with 777 style pivot bins is available on all new build 767s?


User currently offlinebobnwa From United States of America, joined exactly 14 years ago today! , 6535 posts, RR: 9
Reply 38, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 2144 times:

Quoting mayor (Reply 34):
In the first half of the first decade of the 00s, there was serious talk of a merger between DL and CO. IIRC, it was AFTER 9/11.


DL and CO did discuss a merger at that time, However the folks at CO decided they did not want a merger with DL. As a result of this, NW invested in CO and part of this was the NW ownership of a golden-share in CO. which prevented CO from any-further merger talks with any carrier other than NW


User currently offlineDTWPurserBoy From United States of America, joined Feb 2010, 1790 posts, RR: 7
Reply 39, posted (2 years 1 month 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 2117 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 35):
That's actually incorrect. Only the pilot plan is under government administration. Everyone else, under-funded as DL has it today; it's not under the PBGC.

Thank you--you are, of course, correct. The clarfication is appreciated.



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