Northwest Cutting Flights, Staff in Milwaukee in Route Restructuring
EAGAN, Minn. (AP) _ Struggling Northwest Airlines said today it will eliminate flights and cut 100 jobs in its Milwaukee operations to complete a restructuring of its domestic route system.
The nation’s fourth-largest carrier said the service reduction at Milwaukee would allow reassignment of aircraft to increase service and flights from its hubs in Detroit and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
″What it means is that Northwest is desperately trying to figure out how to turn the airline around,″ said Harold E. Shenton, vice president for consulting services at Avmark Inc., an aviation firm based in Arlington, Va.
″They seem to be adopting an experimental approach to restructuring on a piecemeal basis over a long period of time, and they haven’t figured out what’s the best thing to do,″ Shenton said Tuesday.
Northwest said the changes would result in the elimination of about 100 jobs. Affected employees would be given the chance to transfer to other Northwest operations.
Northwest has been cutting back staff and reorganizing its flight schedule to reduce it costs. The airline, still paying off its 1989 leveraged buyout, has been hard hit by the recent fare wars that cost the air industry hundreds of millions of dollars.
The airline said it has augmented the schedule at its hubs by adding 26 non-stop flights from the Twin Cities, increasing daily departures to 299, beginning this fall. Non-stop service will be added to Oakland, Calif., New Orleans and Albuquerque, N.M.
Northwest said it also has increased service at its Detroit hub to 309 daily departures by Sept. 15, including non-stop service to Richmond, Va.
At Milwaukee, Northwest said it will reduce its daily departures from Milwaukee to 18 from the current level of 28, effective Sept. 15. It will continue to serve its three U.S. hubs - Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul and Memphis - as well as Toronto, Ontario, with non-stop service from Milwaukee.