The proposed merger of Delta and Northwest has edged a step closer after US authorities accepted plans for the two airlines to fly under one licence.
The Single Operating Certificate would allow the airlines to combine operations after the close of the proposed merger, which Delta officials have said could be completed by year’s end.The proposal submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) outlined what the airlines would do over the next 15 to 18 months to integrate their daily operations.
“This is a significant milestone in our efforts to bring together our two airlines,” said John Laughter, Delta’s senior vice president - Maintenance Operations.
“Acceptance of our plan lays the groundwork for a smooth transition of our operations,” said Ken Hylander, Northwest’s senior vice president of Safety, Engineering & Chief Safety Officer. “Our ultimate goal is to implement a seamless transition for our customers and this is a big step towards that end.”
The merged airline will be called Delta, and will be headquartered in Atlanta. It will operate a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft and employ approximately 75,000 workers worldwide.
The merger is subject to the approval of Delta and Northwest shareholders on Sept. 25, 2008, as well as regulatory approvals which are expected by the end of the year.