Under the same wing

Delta and Northwest are to merge

SEEING a well-matched couple finally getting together is one of life?s pleasures. And so the news late on Monday April 14th that a rumoured partnership between Delta and Northwest, America?s third- and fifth-largest airlines respectively, is out in the open should be reason to celebrate. Months of speculation that something was in the air ended when Delta announced it had agreed to buy Northwest in an all-share deal worth some $3.6 billion. They will create America?s biggest domestic carrier and could prove to be the spark that lights the flame for others of America?s six big airlines.

America?s airlines have enjoyed a reasonably happy time alone of late. In the past few years business has recovered after the dark period following the September 11th terrorist attacks. Business and leisure flyers have climbed back on to planes, and airlines have returned to reasonable profitability. But that recovery is fragile: a looming recession and high oil prices make the future look uncertain. In the past few weeks four smaller airlines have declared bankruptcy, in part because of high fuel costs. ...


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