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Northwest Airlines Corp. (NWA)

By Trevor Born

Fortune 500 rank: 213

Founder: Col. Lewis Britten

CEO: Douglas M. Steenland

2700 Lone Oak Parkway
Eagan, MN 55121

What it does:
NWA operates both passenger and cargo flights, and is the seventh largest carrier in the United States and ninth largest in the world.

Minneapolis-St. Paul
Anchorage (Cargo only)

Global airline alliances:
KRM Royal Dutch Airlines
Continental Airlines
Delta Airlines
Air France
China Southern
CSA Czech Airlines
Korean Air

Mainline Aircrafts: 356 (including 13 freighters)

Passengers in 2007: 66 million

Total Destinations: 250

U.S. destinations: 200

Countries served: 21

Total daily flights: 2,500

Total Employees: 29,000

Flight Attendants: 7,680

Airports: 7,600

Pilots: 4,490

Corporate: 3,170

Reservations: 1,900


Other: 3,070

Revenue: $12.5 billion

Net Income:
$2 billion

3 Months
1 Year

S & P Data from October 2008. Chart by Denise Rath.

Merger plans:
Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced finalization of their merger on Oct. 29, resulting in the world’s largest airline. Although it is not clear exactly what the impact will be on Northwest, the name and operations will eventually be switched over to Delta, and the new airline will move its headquarters to Atlanta, according to the new company’s Website. A major hub will remain in Minneapolis-St.Paul, as will a number of executive offices.

Financial trouble:
Northwest Airlines became the last of the four major U.S. airlines to file for bankruptcy in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, filing for Chapter 11 protection Sept. 14, 2005.

In 20 months, they shaved 20 percent ($2.4 billion) of their annual operating expenses, leaving court protection on May 31, 2007. The corporation laid off thousands of employees in the process, as it cut labor spending by 40 percent, or $1.4 billion.

Trevor Born is a sophomore journalism and African-American studies student at the University of Minnesota and owner of Purple Press Magazine. He has written for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune and the Minnesota Daily.

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