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Rick Olson, Fargo, Letter: Merger of airlines would be good news

It has been reported that an announcement concerning a merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines could happen any day. Such a merger, if it goes through, in my opinion could help the traveling public who utilize Fargo Hector International ...

It has been reported that an announcement concerning a merger of Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines could happen any day. Such a merger, if it goes through, in my opinion could help the traveling public who utilize Fargo Hector International Airport.

Presently, Northwest is the dominant air carrier in Fargo. Serviced by flights operated by Northwest and its regional partner airline, which operates as Northwest Airlink, all of Northwest's flights presently funnel passengers to and from NWA's hub at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. This limits NWA's service from Fargo strictly to the Twin Cities.

NWA also operates hubs at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Michigan and Memphis International Airport in Tennessee. Yet, NWA has not offered nonstop service to either of those cities from Fargo. NWA's present service at Hector Airport is limited strictly to flights to and from Minneapolis, where passengers change planes and continue on to their destinations on other Northwest flights.

A merger between Delta and Northwest could prove to be beneficial to the flying public as far as service from Hector goes. Delta introduced daily service of Delta Express flights between Fargo and Salt Lake City about a year ago, utilizing Canadair regional jets provided by their partner airline SkyWest. Hector Airport officials have been testing the waters to see if Delta was interested in adding nonstop flights to their hubs in Atlanta and Cincinnati.

If the Delta-Northwest merger does go through, passengers in Fargo could possibly see Delta expand their flight offerings to and from Fargo to include service to their hubs in Atlanta and Cincinnati. Those flights would augment the present daily Delta Express service to and from Salt Lake City.

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A Delta-Northwest merger appears to be the most logical, in that both airlines are part of a partnership called the Sky Team Alliance, in which Delta and Northwest codeshare each other's flights; and passengers may obtain frequent flyer miles by flying on either carrier's flights, among other things.

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