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Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Fri Apr 05, 2002 6:13 am

Crain Chicago Business April 03, 2002
> > Northwest withholds O'Hare support
> >

By Paul Merrion
> > Northwest Airlines Inc. is raising concerns about proposed expansion plans
> > at O'Hare International Airport.
> > The Minneapolis-based carrier has listed in writing four issues that need
> > to be addressed before it can support the World Gateway terminal expansion
> > plan as well as federal legislation to codify last December's city-state
> > agreement to build two new runways at O'Hare.
> > So far, senators from Michigan and Northwest's home state of Minnesota,
> > where it has a major international hub, have not given their support to
> > legislation sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., to lock the O'Hare
> > deal in place.
> > While Northwest's demands are part of the normal give-and-take in
> > negotiating an airport expansion project, its support of the legislation
> > could be crucial if Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., mounts a filibuster
> > against it when it reaches the Senate floor later this year.
> > "We're not opposed to expansion of O'Hare but we want to make sure it's
> > done in a way that's fair to us," says a spokesman for Northwest, who
> > confirmed the contents of a letter obtained by Crain's Chicago Business.
> > The undated letter drafted by Northwest was addressed to Northwest CEO
> > Richard H. Anderson from the city, American Airlines and United Airlines.
> > "We want to make sure that whatever's in the legislation keeps us whole.
> > We're trying to find a way to support it." The spokesman adds that it was
> > "counterproductive" for the letter to have been leaked at this stage of
> > the negotiations.
> > "Our experience has been that United opposes any expansion plans of other
> > airlines at their hubs, yet expects cooperation from other airlines at its
> > hubs," says the Northwest spokesman. However, "we are still trying to find
> > a way to make this work."
> > American Airlines asked Northwest to explain its position in writing about
> > a month ago, after Northwest expressed concerns that prevented it from
> > supporting the bill, says a spokeswoman for American. A United Airlines
> > spokeswoman declined to comment on the letter, but a source at the Elk
> > Grove Township-based carrier indicates that Northwest's demands are
> > considered excessive.
> > At the city, First Deputy Commissioner of Aviation John Harris says he
> > hasn't been "officially" asked to sign the letter "nor would we expect
> > them to ask" in light of the project's full-fledged support from the Air
> > Transport Assn., the major carriers' industry association.
> > As a price for its support for the bill, Northwest-the airport's fourth
> > largest carrier-wants assurances from the city of Chicago, United and
> > American that it will not be forced to relocate its gates at the E
> > Concourse of Terminal 2. The relocation is a key element of the World
> > Gateway plan.
> > Moving several smaller airlines to a new Terminal 6 would allow United and
> > American to expand their facilities to include customs inspection
> > stations, allowing international and domestic flights to use the same
> > terminal. Currently, all international passengers arriving at O'Hare have
> > to go through the International Terminal and then go to another terminal
> > to catch a connecting flight.
> > Northwest also wants assurances that federal funding for O'Hare will
> > follow normal procedures and will not divert federal airport improvement
> > grants from other airports-something the city has already agreed to spell
> > out in a revised version of the expansion package.
> > And Northwest wants two existing cargo facilities and a hangar at O'Hare,
> > which apparently occupy some of the land needed for new runways, to be
> > replaced at no cost to Northwest.
> > Northwest also wants support from United and American for a terminal
> > expansion project at Japan's Narita Airport.
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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Fri Apr 05, 2002 6:39 am

This move by Northwest isn't surprising. They have a huge competitive advantage over AA and UA now with the DTW World Gateway, and the new runways at DTW (open) and MSP (under construction). Both of these airports are far less congestion-prone than O'Hare. As word about the DTW World Gateway spreads, UA and AA will have lots to worry about if the fool runways at O'Hare aren't reconfigured.

So it makes perfect sense, from NW's viewpoint, to use their leverage to pressure the Daley-Ryan ORD plans and try to get something out of it.

This won't be a deal-breaker though. NW and Daley-Ryan will split the difference and the plan will go through. I predict new relocated NW hangars at ORD at City expense, but NW will lose the E concourse gates.

Besides, if Minnesota Sens. Wellstone and Dayton joined a Fitzgerald filibuster and killed the Daley-Ryan plan, Iowa Sens. Harkin and Grassley, along with virtually all other Midwestern senators, would see that MN didn't get Federal Funding for so much as a Mary Tyler Moore statue for the next 10 years.


Need a new airline paint scheme? Better call Saul! (Bass that is)
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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Fri Apr 05, 2002 10:05 am

My question is why NW has anything to say about it at all? They seldom have more than two planes on the ground here, and those are usually an A320 and a DC-9. They're not exactly a major ORD carrier.
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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Fri Apr 05, 2002 10:49 am

NW sends i belive around 4-5 planes into ORD a hour, from MSP, DTW and MEM. Obvisouly, this is more than most other carrier except UA, AA and DL ( I believe its DL). NW also uses ORD as a sort of gateway for KLM flights, whcih are very common.
Reason why the don't have many planes there is because there usually in transit.
Topic Author
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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Tue Apr 09, 2002 12:14 am

Actually NWA does have a somewhat large presence at ORD for a non-hub carrier. They have hourly flights to DTW and MSP as well as quite a few to MEM. NW also has a significant cargo operation here, operationg 747-200 freighters at night. You usually see anywhere from 2 to 4 NW planes on the ground at once at any time during the day. ORD isn't really a gateway for NW/KLM flights as those code-shares take place at the NW hubs. So they have a little bit of pull.
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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Tue Apr 09, 2002 2:23 am

ORD is a gateway for AMS... there is a daily KLM flight that has the NW code on it. Hourly flights are only to MSP, though DTW have quite a bit. Currently only 3 flights to MEM. They are the #4 airline in ORD... It doesn't matter how large they are really, to have this say. They are an integral part of ORD and their money is funneled into the system, so they ought to be vocal about things.

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RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Tue Apr 09, 2002 2:48 am

It's not surprising they are withholding their support. A new, improved, efficient O'Hare would wipe out NW's newly acquired Detroit advantage.

NWA used to have a base at ORD, not sure anymore.
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Joined: Sat Apr 29, 2000 5:26 am

RE: Northwest Witholds ORD Support

Tue Apr 09, 2002 6:30 am

FA base in ORD closed at the end of Spet 2001. Even if ORD could give the new DTW a run for their money, it will be a long time before it even happens. NW has nothing to worry about short term.


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