Delta-Northwest merger OK’d 10 years ago today

It was 10 years ago Monday that Delta Air Lines received its final approval for a deal to merge with Northwest Airlines.

At the time, the merger made the combined carrier the largest in the world. American has since taken that title following its merger with US Airways in 2015, but the Delta-Northwest tie-up stoked a period of “merger mania” among U.S. carriers.

Since Delta received its final OK to merge with Northwest on Oct. 29, 2008, a number of other major mergers have reshaped the U.S. airline industry. Other major combinations have included United-Continental (2010) and Southwest-AirTran (2011). The last merger involving major U.S. carriers came in 2016, when Alaska Airlines closed on a deal to acquire Virgin America.

Once the dust had settled from those deals, four airlines – American, Delta, United and Southwest – were left controlling about 80 percent of the U.S. market. In other words, 4 out every 5 U.S. passengers flies on one of those four airlines or their regional affiliates.

As for Delta, it will celebrate its merger milestone with an employee celebration Monday at the company’s Atlanta headquarters.

“In October 2008, we had an incredibly complex task ahead of us, bringing together two proud airlines as the entire industry watched us,” Delta president Glen Hauenstein said in a statement that reflected on the company’s 10-year merger milestone. "It’s been an amazing feat and all 80,000 of us should be proud of how far we’ve come.”

Scroll down for a few superlatives that help put today’s Delta into perspective with the standalone, pre-merger operations of Delta and Northwest.

Number of mainline aircraft*

Delta in 2008: 576

Northwest in 2008: 329

Delta in 2018: 872

** = Does not include regional affiliates*

MORE : Delta and the Boeing 747: A brief history( story continues below )


Delta in 2008: 48,400

Northwest in 2008: 29,000

Delta today: 80,000

Biggest aircraft

In 2008: Northwest’s Boeing 747 (435 seats)

Today: Delta’s Airbus A350 (306 seats)


Northwest/Delta in 2008: 61

Today: 0

Biggest hub

Delta in 2008: Atlanta

Northwest in 2008: Minneapolis/St. Paul

Delta today: Atlanta

Number of domestic hubs

Delta in 2008: 4 (Atlanta, Cincinnati, New York JFK and Salt Lake City)

Northwest in 2008: 3 (Detroit, Memphis and Minneapolis/St. Paul)

Delta today: 8 (Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York JFK, New York LaGuardia, Salt Lake City and Seattle).

Dropped as hubs since 2008: Cincinnati, Memphis

Added as hubs since 2008: Los Angeles, New York LaGuardia, Seattle


Pretty interesting huh doesn’t seem so long ago

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Where is Schiphol? :) awesome thread sir.

Thank you I thought the community needed this 😏🙂

I miss good ole northwest airlines

This is the last time I’m going to comment on one of your threads before flagging it.

Please PLEASE make sure you link the article you have either copied, or referenced. This is a requirement of the IFC.

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The merger that lead to the downfall of CVG. And my dad losing his job. 😞 I miss the old days.


Me too was your dad a pilot

No, he worked for Comair and was maintenance.

It’s funny how such a small partnership can go a long way in the regional carrier buissness

That was a hint to put the reference in buddy. Add the reference to your post, please.

Oh I’ll try to find it

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This what you wanted

Wow that was just the other day!
Time is so fast, Delta is only climbing higher to this day!
Can’t wait for more A220 routes

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Or Tokyo NRT?

I think this was only calling out the United States hubs

true it seems like 2 years ago

Before the Merger, Delta and Northwest had different Hubs

Northwest Airlines hubs
RJAA (Narita International Airport)
EHAM (Amsterdam International Airport)
KDTW (Detroit International Airport)
KMSP (Minneapolis/St Paul International Airport) [Hometown]
KMEM (Memphis International Airport)

Delta Airlines
KATL (Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport) [Hometown]
KCVG (Cincinnati International Airport)
KLGA (LaGuardia International Airport)
KSEA (Seattle Tacoma International Airport)
KSLC (Salt Lake City International Airport)

After NWA/DAL Merger
Delta Airlines - Hubs
KATL -Atlanta (Hometown)
KJFK - New York
KSLC - Salt Lake City
KLGA - LaGuardia
KSEA - Seattle
KLAX - Los Angeles
KDTW - Detroit

Delta Airlines - Focus City
KCVG (Previously Hub) - Cincinnati
KBOS - Boston
KRDU - Raleigh, NC


Cincinnati is slowly fading away