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
In 2008: Northwest’s Boeing 747 (435 seats)
Today: Delta’s Airbus A350 (306 seats)
Northwest/Delta in 2008: 61
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