Consumer Benefits From Northwest Proposal

PIERRE, S.D. (January 7, 2003) å- A proposed marketing agreement among Northwest Airlines (NASDAQ: NWAC), Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) and Delta Air Lines (NYSE: DAL) will enable the carriers to extend their networks and offer more choices to travelers while preserving competition, according to South Dakota Governor William Janklow.

In a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft, Gov. Janklow states, “Airlines have been relying on cooperative marketing agreements to meet consumer demand for over a decade. Through code sharing and frequent flyer and lounge program coordination, airlines can effectively extend their networks and offer consumers convenient online service to a broad array of destinations. Every major U.S. airline has entered into such an arrangement with other U.S. and foreign airlines at one time or another.”

The proposed marketing agreement will connect the three carriers’ domestic and international networks to provide travelers with more choices and make flight connections involving two or more of the carriers a seamless experience.

Commenting on the agreement’s anticipated benefits for travelers in his state, Gov. Janklow writes, “Although Northwest Airlines and Delta Air Lines currently serve South Dakota, our state’s rural demographics have limited convenience of travel to many destinations. Connecting the Delta system to current Northwest/Continental service in South Dakota will greatly expand the number of destinations available to our many business and leisure travelers.”

The proposed marketing agreement is similar to one between Northwest and Continental that has been in effect since 1998. “The new three-carrier agreement will build upon the demonstrated benefits of the Northwest/Continental relationship while, at the same time, not lessening competition among airlines,” Gov. Janklow says in the letter. “Business and leisure travelers will gain single airline access to new domestic and international cities, added convenience through vastly expanded travel choices in existing online markets, and a broader range of frequent flyer and lounge program benefits.”


The proposed marketing agreement, which is under consideration by the U.S. Department of Transportation, is a response to the current challenges facing the aviation industry. The agreement does not involve a merger or consolidation, but allows the three airlines to increase revenue while remaining independent and preserving competition. A participating carrier will earn revenue only when passengers fly on its own airplanes.

Several members of Congress also have written to Secretary Mineta in support of the agreement, including U.S. Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

Northwest Airlines is the world’s fourth largest airline with hubs at Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Memphis, Tokyo and Amsterdam, and approximately 1,500 daily departures. With its travel partners, Northwest serves nearly 750 cities in almost 120 countries on six continents. In 2002, consumers from throughout the world recognized Northwest’s efforts to make travel easier. A 2002 J.D. Power and Associates study ranked airports at Detroit and Minneapolis/St. Paul, home to Northwest’s two largest hubs, tied for second place among large domestic airports in overall customer satisfaction. Business travelers who subscribe to OAG print and electronic flight guides rated as the best airline Web site. Readers of TTG Asia and TTG China named Northwest “Best North American airline.”

For more information pertaining to Northwest, media inquiries can be directed to Northwest Media Relations at (612) 726-2331 or to Northwest’s Web site at