I beg to differ...
By 'so many aircraft on order'... NW has, what, 24 A330s, and a number of 757-300s and A32X. Maybe for NW, but this is what the United/Continental/American/Delta orderbooks looked like *consistently* throughout the mid-late 90s.
To be nice,
Yes, certainly it doesn't help their net worth to have large financial obligations like aircraft orders in the pipeline. But these two airlines have especially atrocious debt because of their checkered and troubled financial past. US was beleaguered by high costs and inefficient mergers, NW by Checci's unsuccessful regime.
I assume you ask this question because of the Aviation Week article with statistics/charts by GWU.