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Friday, January 21, 2011

End of an Era: Delta Bids Farewell to Northwest Livery

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A Northwest Orient Boeing 747-100 at London Gatwick Airport  Photo courtesy of Eduard Marmet
On Tuesday, my good friend Cranky Flier did a post on the last Northwest Airlines-liveried planes leaving the fleet, along with the retirement of that carrier’s DC-9s.  I admit it – I’m an aviation sentimentalist, and I’m sad to see this airline icon disappear.
            Looking at the last three mergers – US Airways-America West and United Continental – only US Airways has painted aircraft in their fleet with what they call heritage liveries.  The Phoenix-based carrier has planes in the Piedmont, Allegheny, PSA and America West liveries in exact detail 

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Photo by Benet J. Wilson           
I called Delta yesterday to ask if we might see a Northwest commemorative livery in their fleet.  A spokeswoman offered this statement:  “As Delta moved to quickly present a consistent brand to our customers and integrate the airlines, we appropriately commemorated the Northwest brand with a significant display in the Delta Heritage Museum. We do not have any plans to paint an aircraft in a commemorative NWA livery.”
When I checked with the new United, a spokesman says that there is currently a Boeing 737-900 painted in a Continental 75th anniversary livery. United is also painting a plane in a classic livery to celebrate its 85th anniversary.  “The Continental 75th anniversary livery will continue to fly on that one 737-900 until the plane goes in for a full repainting, which will happen after Continental is absorbed fully into United,” he explained.
Again, I’m sad to see the Northwest livery go away.  But having visited the Delta Heritage Museum many times, I know they will do a great job incorporating the history of Northwest, as they’ve done with Chicago & Southern Air Lines, Northeast Airlines, Pan Am’s trans-Atlantic and Shuttle routes and Western Airlines.

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