The Northwest Airlines is a part of history in the aviation sector and is a pioneer in the field of aviation in the United States making a humble start by providing an airmail service to become a major brand and a international player in the aviation and airfreight industry.
Inception and Initial Operations
Northwest Airlines was incepted in the year 1926 with a corporation formed in Detroit. Initially the airline operated airmail contracts between the cities of Minneapolis, Detroit, & Chicago and was not in the passenger service. The passenger service was commenced in the year 1927 and all its fleet was converted to cabin aircraft in the year 1928. The rising demand in the passenger service leads to the expansion in services to Winnipeg, Canada which was its first ever international destination. Subsequently the operations were expanded in Midwest with destinations like Fargo, Madison, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Sensing the tremendous growth in the airlines, the investors from Minneapolis purchased the airline in 1929 and shifted the headquarters to Twin Cities the same year.
Expanding International Operations
The airlines had tasted blood with expansion and sensed a tremendous potential in Japan. As a expansion strategy to explore the skies contacted Charles Lindbergh to initiate routes to Japan with logistical support from stops in Canada & Alaska. During those times, all the flights from the United States to Japan used to stop at Hawaii & the Philippines. The changed route was named "GREAT CIRCLE Route". When World War II began in full force, the airlines had to postpone the implementation of this new route. But the research that was done by the airline in the year 1930 was fruitful in the war effort and placed the company in a strong expansion mode in to the routes to the east once the hostilities stopped.
The aviation routes during that era was controlled and handled by The Federal Aviation Administration. In the year 1933 , the FAA granted Northwest Airlines the "Northern Transcontinental Route'' extending from the city of Seattle , Washington in the west , to the city of New York in the east . This route opened new vistas for the airlines to expand their course adding extra services to communities in Montana, North Dakota, Idaho & Washington. Besides this the airline also designed feeder routes which terminated at cities besides transcontinental route further making forays in to new destinations. The company was rehabilitated with the name Northwest Airlines during this period.
Expansion to the Orient
Till 1947, the airlines had cemented its position in the aviation industry and there were regular flights to Japan taking the Great Circle route and its flights made fuelling halts in Canada, Alaska & the Aleutians while in a course to Tokyo. The airlines were in the expansion mode with new flights being added frequently to destinations like China, Korea & Philippines. The airlines expanded its fleet by inducting new state of art aircrafts and in the process reducing the travel times and multiplying the passenger capacity. At this stage the airlines started promoting itself as Northwest Airlines, even though the corporate name remained unchanged.
Bankruptcy and Merger
Though Northwest Airlines was making profits and generating revenues, the unfortunate downturn in the aviation sector turned its fortunes. For the first time in the Northwest Airlines history, the company was forced to file for bankruptcy protection in the year 2005. The airline was able to emerge from its bankruptcy protection in the year 2007 and the following year the company as a business strategy and to revive its fortunes merged with Delta Air and thus forming the world's grandest commercial air lines.