Delta and Northwest announced they plan to merge their airlines. There is something in this merger for everyone to hate. Planebuzz.com‘s Holly Hegeman sez Northwest’s pilots hate it because Delta’s pilots were bribed with a pay raise. Consumers should hate it because it will enable both airlines to trim service and hike fares. Investors should hate it because, instead of adding value, it’s simply perpetuating the losing proposition of the hide-bound legacy carriers. There’s a reason they’re called dinosaurs, after all.
Worse, this merger does nothing to address the systemic problems plaguing the airlines: sky-high fuel prices are here to stay. Labor costs continue to rise as real purchasing power lags in the face of the escalating cost of living. Regulatory nightmares abound, including everybody’s favorite: the TSA. And lately, the FAA has been finding new muscle to try and and get off its knees and enforce its procedures.
So, here comes Delta and Northwest who attempt to solve the problems the old-fashioned way: form an anti-competitive trust to cram bad service and Shylock fares down the collective throats of millions of hapless travelers. Oh, there are several labor groups (particularly at Northwest) who have some choice words for this ill-fated match. Yep, it’s a marriage, of sorts. Made somewhere far south of here.
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