Back in April 2008, I had the chance to go to Seoul, South Korea, to do a series of stories for Aviation Daily. While everyone else was rushing to customs and baggage claim after we landed, I took my time, taking photos of global carriers I didn’t often get to see in the U.S. But I could not resist taking a few snaps of a Northwest Airlines Airbus A330 parked at a gate at Incheon International Airport. Enjoy!
In April 2008, I went to Seoul to do a series of stories on Korean Air. I had plenty of time at Incheon International Airport to take photos, and regular readers know I love to see foreign flag carrier liveries. But today, I was feeling sentimental, so please enjoy this Northwest Airlines Airbus A330 parked at the gate.
A Northwest Airlines Airbus A330 lands at Memphis International Airport. Photo courtesy of Scott Sherrin via Flickr.
At the beginning of my career, I wrote for a newsletter that covered economic development among other things. I wrote regularly about the efforts of states, counties, regions and cities to bring new companies, which, in turn, bring in more jobs.
On some of those stories, airlines were included in presentations to show how well a new business could get to the places they needed to be as part of the business. But it was inevitable that they’d want a piece of the action, either to expand existing flights or add new ones.
So I say all this to comment about an article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal about the efforts of that city’s airport to keep the service they have and expand to more cities. You may remember that Memphis was one of three hubs for Northwest Airlines (No Town, Snow Town (Minneapolis) and Motown (Detroit)).
But after the Minneapolis-based carrier merged with Delta Air Lines, it was no surprise when the carrier started balancing its combined route network, which included cutting one-third of its service out of Memphis. The airport has also seen average fares rise to the point where locals are complaining – vociferously.
So the airport authority decided to hire DC-based INTERVistas, a firm that specializes in travel and tourism, to help it bring in new service and lower air fares. In a report presented last month, the firm recommended creating a $1 million fund to offer incentives to airlines for new domestic and international service including free landing fees and terminal rent, along with cooperative advertising aid.
The Commercial Appeal article included quotes from airline consultant Mike Boyd of The Boyd Group that really hit a note with me. He noted that while the incentives might speed up efforts by Southwest Airlines to expand or maybe JetBlue to start service out of Memphis, it wasn’t likely the city would get enough service to replace what Delta has cut.
According to the Commercial Appeal, the new incentives were called “the right response at the right time,” by airport president and CEO Larry Cox and “bold” by Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau president Kevin Kane. But what else would they say? Their backs are up against the wall with locals getting angry about the service cuts, as outlined in this article.
I don’t entirely disagree with these new incentives. I think targeted correctly, Memphis could see some new service — but it will never be at the levels it had when it was a Northwest hub. My recommendation is that they let go of the past and look at what other dehubbed airports — like Pittsburgh, Raleigh-Durham and San Jose — have done to survive when their major carriers — US Airways and American Airlines, respectively — have made cuts.
Earlier this week, I had to go onto our company’s travel website. When I logged on, there was a message informing me of the Northwest Airlines-Delta Air Lines merger and informing me that Northwest no longer exists.
It actually made me a little sad to see that message, because I was a great fan of Northwest Orient (its name the first time I ever flew them). The service was always good, and who could resist flying on a DC-9 older than me? So this week’s picture is one I snapped during a trip Seoul to visit Korean Air back in April 2008. I liked the contrast of the Northwest Airbus A330 with the Korean tails. Enjoy!