If I was the CEO of Northwest I'd do the following:
*Determine what was causing Northwest to outperform the other US airlines and make sure whatever it was we continued doing it, and indeed worked on doing more of it.
*Order 5 Airbus A340-500s and 5 A340-600s. The -500s would enable new ultra-long haul service, primarily across the pacific, in competition with similiar services now being launched by Asian airlines. The -600s would enable the conversion of the remaining passenger 747-200s into freighters, and would also enable an expansion in total passenger capacity.
*Launch a premium transcontinental service on a northern axis, from Seattle to New York, Boston and Washington, using either the 757-300 or perhaps the A330.
*Continue to accept delivery of A330s enabling the retirement of the DC-10 fleet from passenger service.
*Expand the Cargo division, by having some of the newer DC-10-30s converted to MD
-10 standards and added to it to it and developing new global cargo partnerships.
*Investigate creating a leisure division to take over a few additional DC-10s for charter operations (not sure if this would work but it would be worth looking into).
*Completely redo the Y class cabins. In going with NWA's "Now You're Flying Smart" theme the new Coach class would be branded as SmartCoach. The main feature would be extended legroom, winged headrests and outlets for laptop computers at every seat
. Currently to my knowledge NWA provides no domestic IFE, under this plan it would be introduced, but only very slightly, on the premium transcontinental services and perhaps on the 757-300 and maybe the 757-200 or A320 fleets. IFE would consist of drop-down LCD
screens in Y class and PTVs up front. IFE would still be minimal, but as my plan would see NWA adding some longer stagelengths to the network and working to develop an improved product, it would be logical to install it on some aircraft. All aircraft would be equipped with outlets at every seat however, that would be the key enhancement for the SmartCoach product.
* Over the long run, 717-200s, Airbus A318s and ERJ170s/190s would be considered as DC-9 replacements. The ultimate decision would be made after a very long period of evaluation, testing and competitive bidding. In addition, a long term replacement of the 747-400 fleet by A380s would be considered. If that plan were to be executed the 744s would over the long run be transferred to the NWA Cargo Division, perhaps replacing the 747-200s or enabling additional growth.
Moving to an all Airbus fleet over the long run could be logical for NWA's instance, replacing the 757-200 with the A321, but only if Airbus can come out with a viable replacement for the 757-300 fleet.
If the A318 was not viable for DC-9 replacement, one radical plan could see pressure put on the pilot's union to extend the scope clause to 120 seats, with all routes currently DC-9 operated being transferred over to Mesaba and Pinnacle, which would operate them with 717-200s or E-170-190s. If that were to occur, it would be timed to coincide with the retirement of many mainline pilots, while remaining mainline pilots left high and dry could be moved over to larger aircraft, facilitating additional growth of medium to long haul services. Also if this plan was to occur NWA would itself become a primarily medium & long haul airline, with the short haul routes operated as NW
Airlink by regional airlines with lower cost structures, and consequently SmartCoach would have to be further enhanced in terms of IFE and in-flight service quality.
In general though the main objective would be to strengthen NWA's position by ensuring continued passenger loyalty, by improving the quality of Northwest's product, integrating NWA into the SkyTeam global alliance, and working on in general maintaining NWA's pre-eminance in its key markets such as Detroit, MSP
, and the Pacific.