Northwest Airlines

Northwest Airlines, short nwa ( sometimes also Northwest Orient Airlines), was an American airline based in Eagan, as well as a member of the airline alliance SkyTeam. In October 2008, it was acquired by Delta Air Lines, which they in their own AOC integrated and early 2010, finally stopped the use of the brand nwa December 31, 2009.


Founding and first years

Northwest Airlines was founded on August 1, 1926 under the name Northwest Airways. She graduated from the first postal flight on October 1, 1926, a Curtiss Oriole. The first passenger flight followed on 1 June 1928, a Stinson SB -1; Followed in 1931 by the first international flight to Winnipeg. On April 16, 1934, the airline changed its name to Northwest Airlines.

On 22 April 1939, the first Douglas DC-3 from a total of 36 aircraft was delivered. After the war Northwest Airlines ordered the first Boeing B -377 Stratocruiser, which was soon replaced by a Lockheed L -188 Electra, the first turbo -prop aircraft in the society.

In the jet age as Northwest Orient Airlines

On May 18, 1960, the first pure jet aircraft, the Douglas DC-8 -32, was delivered. Northwest Airlines was the first airline that crossed the Pacific with this type.

End of 1970, the first Boeing 747-100 was delivered and used on the route from New York to Minneapolis. In 1980, the airline took - was still listed as " Northwest Orient Airlines" - their shipping services to Germany (Hamburg) on. In October 1989, the airline was the launch customer as the new Boeing 747-400.

Development since 2000

With delivery of the first Airbus A330 -300 in June 2003, a new corporate design was introduced.

On 5 May 2005, the airline 18 aircraft ( plus 50 options ) of the type 787-8 "Dreamliner" for delivery starting in 2009 ordered from Boeing. September 14 of the same year Northwest applied for insolvency under Chapter 11 Under U.S. law, a company can while maintaining the current operation, but is protected from claims of creditors.

For 2006 NW reported for the first time since 2000, an operating profit of 300 million dollars. However, the airline reported a pure loss of 2.8 billion, due to the restructuring measures in connection with the insolvency.

On 28 February 2007, the bankruptcy court agreed that Northwest Airlines may buy up the regional partner Mesaba Aviation. On June 1, 2007 North West could leave the protection of creditors under Chapter 11 after 20 months. This was the first time since December 2002, none of the so-called U.S. "legacy" companies more in bankruptcy protection. As a " legacy carriers" are the big U.S. companies with international route network, in addition to Northwest Airlines notably American Airlines, Continental Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and U.S. Airways.

Acquisition by Delta Air Lines

On 14 April 2008 it was announced that Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines are planning a merger in which the largest airline in the world would arise. The new company was to be called Delta Air Lines wear and are led by former Northwest Airlines CEO Richard Anderson. After approval of the shareholders and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission of the merger on 29 October 2008 resolved. Until full integration in Delta (where all the brand " Northwest " disappeared ) acted Northwest as its wholly owned subsidiary.

Before the acquisition, Northwest was the oldest remaining airline of the United States and behind American, Delta, Southwest and United Airlines is the fifth largest airline in the United States.

Since December 31, 2009 Northwest Airlines no longer has its own air operator's certificate (AOC - Air Operator Certificate ). Since 1 January 2010, all activities are carried out only under a single authorization which is on Delta Air Lines. Since the first quarter of 2010, all reservations and tickets are handled only through the delta system company-wide. The Northwest Airlines website has now been closed. This, as well as the repainting of the last remaining aircraft that Northwest Airlines brand completely disappeared, and the largest to date flight corporate takeover of the United States was completed.


Worldwide transport links offered by their own as well as code sharing. The focus in the U.S. were the Midwest and the Northwest, in international traffic, the transpacific route USA Asia and the transatlantic link to Europe. In Germany, Frankfurt am Main was one to two times daily as well as Dusseldorf fly from Detroit.

The U.S. aviation hubs (English hubs) were located in Minneapolis, Detroit and Memphis, the international Tokyo - Narita and Amsterdam ( KLM ). Northwest was also a member of the airline alliance SkyTeam, which also Delta Air Lines, Air France and Alitalia belong among others.


Before integration into the fleet of Delta Air Lines, the fleet consisted of NWA at December 2009, 305 aircraft, of which at that time were already wearing the painting of Delta 180.


  • On August 16, 1987 Northwest Airlines Flight 255 crashed shortly after takeoff from the airport Detroit, Michigan. Of the 149 passengers and six crew members survived only a four year old girl. In addition, two people were killed on the ground. As a cause of the accident unconfigured buoyancy aids apply.
  • On 9 October 2002 had to make an emergency landing 85 of 400 passengers due to a defect in the rudder system in Anchorage, a Boeing 747-400 Northwest Airlines flight. In the incident, no passenger or crew member was injured. For its services, the Department of the Superior Airmanship Award was presented. The flight is content the episode " Happy reversal" of the documentary series Mayday - Alarm in the cockpit.
  • On 25 December 2009, a 23 -year-old Nigerian tried with 289 people on board to ignite an explosive device during the Northwest Airlines Flight 253, where he was overwhelmed by another passenger.