It's official: the long-anticipated merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines has finally been announced. The combined carrier - already billed as "America's premier global airline", will be known as Delta and will be based in Atlanta. Delta CEO Richard Anderson would head up the new airline.
A press release by the airline touted the benefits of the merger; it "creates a company with a more resilient business model that is better able to withstand volatile fuel prices than either can on a standalone basis." The release went on to say that "the merged airline will maintain all hubs at Atlanta, Cincinnati, Detroit, Memphis, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York-JFK, Salt Lake City, Amsterdam and Tokyo-Narita... Delta customers will benefit from Northwest’s extensive service to Asian markets and Northwest’s customers will have access to Delta’s strengths across the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa."
Of course, the merger still needs to clear regulatory hurdles, and there's always the issue of the pilots at both airlines, which haven't yet agreed on seniority. But if the merger goes off successfully, it will create the world's largest airline. Also, keep a look out for a United-Continental merger, which has been rumored to occur if a Delta-Northwest merger was announced - it could be announced very soon. (Although United has favored a merger for some time, Continental has said it would consider it only if a Delta-Northwest deal went through.) More details of the Delta-Northwest deal will be revealed tomorrow at a press conference featuring both CEOs in New York, but until then, check out the website that Delta set up about the merger.
I've also posted below the internal memo sent out to employees today at Delta, which sheds a bit more light on the merger process (click on the images to view them at full size):