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Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 1:18 am

Does anyone know where i can see a Northwest Airlines/Orient routemap and/or timetable online from before the Republic merger in the mid-80's? I'd like to see what their service was right before the merger.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 5:26 am

I have a route map, but unfortunately, I don't have a scanner.

Their main hub was in MSP, with a "mini-hub" in DTW (about 40 daily flights).
They were essentially a spoke route system out of MSP, with a concentration of service in the northwest. Their domestic route system dwarfs what NWA is today. They had no transcontinental flights. International service was to Asia, Europe and Canada.

If you have any specific questions, let me know. I have the timetables.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 5:51 am

That's about right. The two hubs they had then were DTW and MSP. International service was very developed in Asia, a lot more than what it was in Europe and Canada. They weren't codesharing with KLM at that time, were they? I think they had a direct flight, I don't know if it was nonstop, from JFK to NRT. The aircraft was a B747-100/200, the 400 had just been launched by the airline. Northwest was the launch customer for the B747-400.
They had at that time B727-100/200's (there were still a lot of those in the 80's), B757-200 which was brand new, DC-10's and B747's as mentioned above. I don't think they had any DC-9 before merging with Republic.

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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 6:26 am

NW didn't have any DC-9's pre-Republic. They had just started to get some 757's just prior to the merger. They had 747-100's and 200's. The -400's came post merger.

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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 9:27 am

When did they aquire/start the hub at Memphis?


RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 9:30 am

Right after they merged with Republic because MEM was a hub for Republic. It was sometime in the late 80's I think, Im too lazy to look it up though Sleepy
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 10:46 am

I can only tell you that they inaugurated service to San Diego in '82 or '83 with two daily flights to LAX, one with a 727-100 and the other with a DC-10. At the time of the merger with Republic I believe they had added a couple of nonstop flights from SAN to Minneapolis, mostly with 727s.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:55 pm


The hub at MEM was acquired when NW merged with Republic in Oct. 1986.
MEM was originally a hub for Southern Airways, which merged with North Central Airlines in July 1979 to form Repubic. Republic merged with Northwest Orient to form Northwest. Thus, the same operation at MEM has gone through three airlines: Southern, Republic, and now Northwest.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 12:59 pm

I think they had a direct flight, I don't know if it was nonstop, from JFK to NRT.

They still do.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 2:07 pm

In early 1986 Northwest Orient as they titled themselves operated I think 139 aircraft of which about 10 were newely delivered P&W powered 757's, 72 I think were 727's, I think they had 53 727-200 operating at that time (by 1986 they were reducing the 727-100 fleet as the 757's came on, from the original 32 727-100's they had ordered) , 22 were DC-10 (all40's) and 35 were jumbos including : 747-100 (10 of them), the first of which entered service in 1970, and 747-200's (9 of them)including 6 747F freighters which came into service in 1979. Everyone of them was P&W powered. Only NWA and JAL ordered DC-10's with that power plant. In the words of Northwest CEO's at that time if they wanted light bulbs they would buy GE, if they wanted jet engines ther was only P&W. Only in 1986 they dook delivery the next 10 of 20 757'.

Detroit was a relatively small station. on the East end of their core of domestic flights which covered the corridor described by Portland/Seattle East to MPS/Chicago, with well developd spurs to Boston, New York and Washington DC. Boston, Chicago Tampa Seattle and San Francisco had relatively strong operations. almost on par with Detroit. They for example operated Boston Tampa, New Orleans Tampa, They blanketed North and South Dakota and Montana linking MSP to SEA, They already flew non stop JFK-NRT, and Seoul was a much stronger point with non stops from Seoul to Seattle, Chicago, Manila and Hong Kong. Asian service included newly introduced service to Shanghai and Kuala Lumput, as well as the mainstays of Osaka, Guam, Manila, Hong Kongl Taipei, Okinawa, as well as several routes serving Hawaii and Anchorage (including non stop SEA-Anchorage), Interestingly they operated to a lot more points in Europe than the do nowdays as KLM handles so much of their European points. They had service from MSP to Oslo with continuing service to Stockholm. They had service from Boston to London and Copengahen, and flew from JFK to Shannon, Dublin and Glasgow, as well as the still active MSP to London Gatwick and Frankfurt. n early 1986 They claimed service to 75 cities in 16 countries as 1986 began and were the 7th largest US carrier in terms of rev-pax-miles, but third internationally behind Panam and TWA!!! After the merger wikth Republic in October 1986 they dropped the Northwest Orient for plain Northwest.

Detroit in those days was still a strong American and North Central (changing to Republic starting in 1980) station after the North-Central-Southern link up in late 1979). I used to fly North Central tiled DC9's from Baltimore to Detroit and then connect onto their Convair 580's to Green Bay, Iron Mountain and Hancock Houghton in the time frame 1980-1981 quite often--they got repainted in to the Republic colors fairly early in 1980, If I recall. I remember taking the same Convair 580 in late 86 or early 87 painted in a light gray almost white color with Red Northwest tiles, but a light gray tail, as a modified Republic Northwest livery. In 1982 after moving to MSP I enjoyed the upper level business class cabin on the 747-200's to London Gatwick. As the merger was ocurring in late 1986 I recall discussions on how to integrate the Republic 757's with RR power to the NWA P&W powered aircraft.

Interesting times!
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 5:54 pm

Re: blanketing Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota:

I remember seeing route maps for Northwest Orient during those times, and it resembed the milk run stops for Pacific atolls!

Interesting to see all those "tiny" cities linked in succession.

BTW, they also had a Chicago-Tokyo nonstop which they advertised for in larger newspapers all over the Midwest. Strange to see an ad in national magazines and newspapers for nonstops to Japan from ORD, when they didn't even fly to Louisville at the time!

Those crazy pre-hub days, I tell ya.....
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Mon Sep 23, 2002 11:36 pm

If my memory serves me correct there used to be a SEL-ORD flight around 1984 because I know someone who came from Korea and they landed at ORD and had to connect to get to DTW, really odd now that it is practically the opposite if NW ever brings back SEL.
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 2:51 am

I wonder if the Northwest Memphis operation is the only instance in history of an airport that didn't have service from a particular airline going to "hub" status for that airline literally overnight. Northwest Orient never served Memphis prior to the NW-Republic merger. I remember seeing Northwest aircraft invading the hub almost immediately after the merger. In the early days after the merger it wasn't all that unusual to see Northwest 747s in Memphis, something that is very unusual now.

RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 3:12 am

Cronoado, there is no MSP-FRA
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 8:08 am

The only NW to Frankfurt is from DTW.

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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 8:09 am

In 1980 my family and I flew Northwest Orient in from Hamburg,Germany to MSP via London. We continued onto PHX oddly enough on USAir. I was only 8 years and still remember seeing many Convair A/C taking off. We arrived I believe at the HHH terminal and were bused to the domestic terminal along ramp passing many 747's and DC10's. Quite a site to behold at that age. Also, those familiar with NW ops at PHX's now demolished Terminal One should remember seeing a NW DC10 parked at the 50's vintage, single level terminal. The DC10 looked quite impressive as you approched the terminal. NW usually brought the widebody's to PHX during the winter and still does I believe.Thanks for bringing back some fond memories of my early aviation enthusiasm.Marcus
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RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 9:15 am

Most everyone is correct. Northwest Orient had a very small domestic system and a well developed international system with an emphasis on the Orient. As the 1980's progressed, management at Northwest Orient realized that in order for their airline to remain viable and competitive in the changing times, they had to take some drastic measures. Their sole hub was in Minneapolis-St Paul with small mini hubs in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Boston. In order for Northwest Orient to stay afloat, it had to marry itself to a carrier with a strong domestic system.

The same situation was true at Republic Airlines where Stephen Wolff was hired to save Republic from bankruptcy. He managed to turn the airline around, give it a new identity (the gray and maroon livery), and increase it's route network. In order for Republic to stay afloat, it had to join with a competitor with a strong international system.

Within the continental United States, Northwest and Republic flew some of the same identical routes with take off and landing slots opposite each other. The two carriers were perfect marriage partners.

The merger between the two was announced on January 26, 1986. In the insuing months, Republic readied itself for it's dance with destiny. Northwest looked at the merger with Republic as the most effective way of eliminating one of it's closest competitors. After all, Northwest Orient was the nation's seventh largest carrier, while Republic was the sixth largest domestic carrier.

On October 1, 1986, Northwest's 60th birthday, the merger with Republic was official and complete. The night before, Northwest's workforce numbered around 17,000 employees. The next day, it had doubled to over 30,000 employees. The hubs that were gained were Detroit, Memphis, and practically all of Minneapolis-St Paul. Ever wondered why Northwest has three concourses at Minneapolis and one (the old green concourse, now the C and D concourses) is separated from the others? It's quite simple...the C/D concourse is the old Republic concourse at Minneapolis St-Paul. All Republic facilities at Minneapolis, such as the Employee lounge, were abandoned in favor of the Northwest facilities located on the Gold Concourse, or what is now the G Concourse. Ever noticed the gate spacing on the G concourse as compared to that of the C concourse? The G concourse was set up for DC-10, 747, 707, 757, and 727 aircraft; while the C concourse was set up for all of Republic's aircraft. It can still be seen today.

I think I've managed to get myself off topic somewhat. However, the memories that have come back are something else.

Thanks to everyone.

Aviation is proof that, given the will, we have the capacity to achieve the impossible.

RE: Northwest Routemap Pre Republic

Tue Sep 24, 2002 12:03 pm

Northwest Orient October 1965

Northwest Orient October 1984