This is something I've thought about for a long time. What if Northwest had bought Delta instead of the other way around? What would the fleet look like? Where would the hubs be? Which (if any) cites would be de-hubbed? Discuss.
Here's some of what I think would happen
-NW would de-hub MEM (like DL) did, as ATL would be much larger and profitable
-CVG would lose a lot of flights like it did, and would be about the size it is, minus a few smaller markets and maybe 1 or 2 cities DL doesn't currently serve
-NW would shrink ATL a little, as they want DTW to be their #1 hub, but keep it large enough to avoid having serious repercussions
-NW would continue to build up their operation in DTW. I would see them having 650+ daily flights today, and would've launched routes like MUC, GRU (both earlier than DL did), BRU, MAD, DUB, LIM, and a seasonal ATH, along with some other domestic routes.
-LAX, and JFK would both be NW hubs, but they would be somewhat smaller than they are today
-NW may not have made the slot swap with US that DL did, but I see them building up a hub operation, just smaller than it is right now.
-BOS and IND would both be NWs focus cities, RDU wouldn't be a focus city (yet)
-Like DL, NW would build up a hub in SEA, and will subsequently shrink their NRT hub. However, NW would keep some routes like PUS and SGN running through NRT instead of moving them to SEA.
-DC-9-30s and 40s would be retired in 2012. A319s and large regional jets would replace them
-DC-9-50s would last a little longer, and would be retired somewhere around 2016
-I doubt NW would make the order DL did for the 739ER. I do think they would order the A321s, and would retire a lot more domestic 752s in favor of the 321s
-NW would eventually add on to their 787-8 order (and maybe some 787-9s as well). Many of those will directly replace DLs old 763s.
-Depending how how well NWs Central America ops were, I could see NW acquiring more 737-700s to add more cities/frequencies to Central America and Northern South America (like GYE/CLO/MDE)
-NWs 744s would still be in service right now, but they would eventually be replaced by A350-900s, which NW would still order
-NW would make the move DL made for the FL/WN 712s. It only seems logical if they had 100+ DC-9s in their fleet at one point and still had aging DC-9-50s they would want to replace
-The MD-80s would be replaced in a similar fashion that DL is replacing them, including the A321s, A319s (NW would acquire more, possibly used), and the A320NEO, which NW would order instead of the CS100.