FYI, I saw this article, thought I'd pass it along:
Despite an industry downturn that has seen Northwest and other airlines post
significant financial loses, the St. Paul, Minn.-based carrier will not delay
delivery of the Boeing planes it has ordered.
Northwest has even decided to accelerate delivery of some Boeing 757-200s
as it reduces operation of older DC-10s, Northwest President Doug
Steenland said yesterday.
In an interview with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Steenland also said
Northwest is committed to The Boeing Co.'s jumbo, the 747, and has no
plans "in the foreseeable future" to order the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
Northwest is also interested in Boeing's proposed sonic cruiser, he said.
Steenland was at Sea-Tac Airport to
participate in the opening of two new
Northwest facilities -- a
hangar and a 55,000-square-foot
cargo hangar. Construction of the $45
million hangars began in June 2000.
They replace Northwest hangars that
were in an area designated for
expansion of the passenger terminal.
Northwest, the nation's fourth-largest
airline, is the largest international airline operating out of Sea-Tac. It was one
of the first to operate there when it opened in 1947.
"These new facilities represent our solid commitment to this region and to
Sea-Tac specifically," Steenland said in remarks to several hundred Northwest
employees and port officials.
Earlier this month, Northwest joined most other major U.S. carriers in
reporting a loss in what's normally the most profitable quarter -- the second --
for airlines. Sales at Northwest fell nearly 6 percent, and the airline said it
would eliminate 1,500 jobs, or about 2.8 percent of its U.S. work force.
"Airlines are facing a series of economic challenges now," Steenland said
""But as these new buildings attest, what we are doing is investing for the future
and spending money necessary to make sure we are strategically positioned ...
so when the economy turns and when things straighten out, we are positioned
for a strong and robust future both here in Seattle and other parts of our
Earlier this year, Northwest ordered about $5 billion worth of jets from Boeing
and Airbus, including 18 Boeing 757-300s and two 747-400s for delivery
beginning next year.
The 757-300s will replace aging DC-10s on domestic routes, while the Airbus
A330-300s will replace the older planes on international routes.
"That's a positive economic move for us," Steenland said in the interview.
'That's not something we would cancel."
He also said Northwest continues to talk with Boeing and Airbus about a
longer-range plane to serve Europe from its new $1.2 billion midfield terminal
at Detroit's Metro Airport, which will open in December.
Boeing has been pitching Northwest a longer-range version of the 757-200.
Even though Airbus is keen to place its 555-passenger A380 with a U.S.
airline -- so far only FedEx in this country has ordered the plane -- Steenland
said Northwest likes the 420-passenger 747-400.
"For the foreseeable future, our widebody, longer-range needs can be met
with the 747-400," he said.
Northwest is among the airlines Boeing is talking to regarding the sonic cruiser,
which would fly just shy of the speed of sound, or about 15 percent to 20
percent faster than today's commercial jetliners.
The airline now uses three planes to serve its New York to Tokyo route.
"With the shorter elapsed (flight) times that the sonic cruiser might allow, we
might be able to do that route with two planes and that would represent a fairly
substantial savings," Steenland said.
"It's still early to make those kinds of judgments, but when you look at what
kinds of doors get opened when an airplane has this kind of operating criteria,
that's one that most immediately comes to mind."