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Delta Air Sees Detroit Differently....article

General Lee

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Delta Air Sees Detroit Differently

05/27/09 - 04:41 PM EDT Ted Reed The Street


DETROIT -- Some view Detroit as a symbol of a vast industrial failure. Delta Air Lines sees it as a jewel.

"We're most excited about the future of Detroit, its role as the primary Asian gateway from the East Coast," says Glen Hauenstein, executive vice president of Delta, which acquired Northwest and its hub here in October. The deal makes Detroit the second-biggest hub, after Atlanta, for the world's largest airline.

"Despite all of its woes, Detroit is still a very large city, in the top metropolitan areas, and an optimal hub," Hauenstein said, in an interview. "Not only is the airport beautiful, but to fly from the East Coast, it is the most direct route to Asia." Detroit-Wayne County Airport is the country's 12th busiest, with about 36 million passengers annually.

Already, Delta and its partners fly non-stop to Tokyo, Nagoya, Amsterdam, Paris and London, with flights to Shanghai and Rome scheduled to begin June 1. One-stop service to cities throughout Asia is available through Northwest's Tokyo hub. And "We think Detroit to Asia can be larger," Hauenstein says.

Amazingly, the Detroit that Hauenstein sees goes largely unnoticed by many, particularly in a city so busy feeling sorry for itself that it can barely conceive of such vast potential in its midst.
Throughout history, the most important cities have been transportation hubs, says John Kasarda, a professor at the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina. "In the 18th century, the great cities were ports," Kasarda says. "In the 19th, they were railroad cities. In the 20th, they were highway cities. In the 21st century, they will be cities with international airline connections."

Clearly, a continued role as a primary gateway to Asia and Europe can help to assure Detroit's future, he says, noting: "Detroit Metro Airport is the region's primary infrastructure asset (and) the speedy connectivity it provides to area businesses can help Detroit's economy transform to new sunrise industries, at least partially making up for job losses that are likely to continue to occur, (while) even these older industries will be more competitive in the future with a strong aviation hub.

"Of course, Detroit Metro by itself will not lead an economic turnaround in the city, since other changes must occur in the business climate," Kasarda says "But without the hub, even greater pessimism for recovery would prevail."
Today, the news from Detroit is dominated by the impending bankruptcy of General Motors and the overall downsizing of the auto industry, social woes connected to high unemployment and various problems in the local government.

Reporters from around the world visit here and "trot alongside homeless people or laid-off autoworkers for a day or two," according to a recent story in the Detroit News. "Toss in a few foreclosed homes and the desperate condition of the Big Three, and the world's picture of Detroit as the symbol of America's humbled economy is complete."
Despite image problems, John Carroll, executive director of the Detroit Regional Economic Partnership, says companies from around the world see value in locating in Detroit, still an automotive center with an expanding global airport.

"Quite frankly, the merger is going to strengthen the airport and Detroit's position," Carroll says. Like many major hub cities, Detroit is keen on presenting its best face at the airport, where each year millions of passengers travel through.

For Delta/Northwest passengers, connections occur in a gleaming new $1.2 billion, 122-gate terminal that opened in 2002, replacing an ancient terminal. Passengers on other airlines use a second new terminal that opened last year. An airport authority, affiliated with Wayne County, presides.
Pre-merger, Northwest dominated the airport. It had about 500 daily departures and a workforce of 2,000 customer service agents and ground service workers, while Delta had 14 daily departures to its hubs and a workforce of about 200. Delta's total Michigan employment, including crew bases, totals about 8,000.

Major transitional events occurred at the end of March. First, Northwest employees got new uniforms at an event staged by station manager Andy Zarras, a 25-year Northwest employee who is now a vice president of customer service for Delta. It included hot dogs, peanuts and an appearance by former Detroit Tigers player Gates Brown. The groundwork was laid in the fall, when workers selected their new uniforms at a fashion show: Employees modeled new styles; designer Richard Tyler offered consultations; and hair stylists, beauticians and tailors provided services.
On March 30th, the airport was transformed. Delta's logo, stylistic enhancements and navy blue color scheme took over, replacing Northwest red. "If you came in at 9 p.m. it was Northwest as far as you could see, red everywhere," Zarras says. "When the last flights left, the contractors came in."

Gates got new signage saying "Delta KLM AirFrance." Between the stanchions, blue ribbons replaced Northwest's black ribbons. Priority boarding lanes, formerly "Northwest Elite," were rechristened "Delta Breezeway." Screens on the airport kiosks changed, and the four World Clubs were rechristened as Sky Clubs.
Zarras describes the task of integrating the airport workforces using a family analogy. "Northwest in Detroit was like a big ethnic family, with brothers, sisters, cousins, etc.," he says. "I met with the pre-merger Delta people to welcome them to the Northwest family. I told them 'You come from a small family. You have one brother, one or two cousins. You just married into a very large family.



Bye Bye--General Lee
 

GogglesPisano

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I'll bet they see CVG differently now, too.
 

crj567

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AMAZING!

-Let's see, this city is beyond broke... The average house price is about 7K now (no kidding.) Looks like a FABULOUS place for a freaking mega-hub!!

-I guess the sunny side of Detriot would be that the landing fees are a steal, and you can get a free windshield wash from all the crackheads with squeegees who are undoubtedly overrunning the airport at this very moment!!

-Synergies Aplenty!!!
 
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PeanuckleCRJ

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The planes have been flying very full and with good yields for quite a while out of DTW. 2 747s to NRT, 1 to NGO, 1 to AMS... numerous A330s to AMS, CDG and others. All very full.

Sounds like a failure of a hub to me, right? O&D traffic is nice but not necessarily required except on airliners.net. The DTW airport has tremendous logistics and can push alot of metal around.
 

ACL65PILOT

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I give DTW that. It is a great place to connect though. Almost no delays and a great terminal that is only a few years old.

I personally hope they do not turn it in to an RJ hub.
 

FBN0223

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AMAZING!

-Let's see, this city is beyond broke... The average house price is about 7K now (no kidding.) Looks like a FABULOUS place for a freaking mega-hub!!


-Synergies Aplenty!!!

7k for a house? Really? Good, maybe with what they're paying you to yank gear in your "oh so comfy CRJ", you'll be able to afford one soon.
 

IB6 UB9

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The planes have been flying very full and with good yields for quite a while out of DTW. 2 747s to NRT, 1 to NGO, 1 to AMS... numerous A330s to AMS, CDG and others. All very full.

Sounds like a failure of a hub to me, right? O&D traffic is nice but not necessarily required except on airliners.net. The DTW airport has tremendous logistics and can push alot of metal around.


You sound like the General.
 

PeanuckleCRJ

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Ouch... that's cold! Thanks for the heads up.

Personally, I want to see DTW stay and thrive- I've got family connections and a lot of memories there. Hence the defensive rant.
 
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d.fitz

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AMAZING!

-Let's see, this city is beyond broke... The average house price is about 7K now (no kidding.) Looks like a FABULOUS place for a freaking mega-hub!!

-I guess the sunny side of Detriot would be that the landing fees are a steal, and you can get a free windshield wash from all the crackheads with squeegees who are undoubtedly overrunning the airport at this very moment!!

-Synergies Aplenty!!!

And as soon as we start hiring you will be the first one asking questions about getting an interview.... Right?
 

General Lee

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General Lee

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The planes have been flying very full and with good yields for quite a while out of DTW. 2 747s to NRT, 1 to NGO, 1 to AMS... numerous A330s to AMS, CDG and others. All very full.

Sounds like a failure of a hub to me, right? O&D traffic is nice but not necessarily required except on airliners.net. The DTW airport has tremendous logistics and can push alot of metal around.

We have plenty of mainline planes flying out of DTW. For INTL flying, we also fly a 744 4 days a week to Shanghai, a 767 to LHR, and a new A333 flight to Rome. The terminal there is very nice, and it is a good place to connect from the NE going Westbound. You are correct with your analysis.

Bye Bye--General Lee
 
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HockleyPilot

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What else is he gonna say? The truth? That is frowned apon these days. Just ask the Cali model......
 

PeanuckleCRJ

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PVG starts 1 June.

FCO has been flown out of DTW every summer for as long as I can remember.
 

DYLIN

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The planes have been flying very full and with good yields for quite a while out of DTW. 2 747s to NRT, 1 to NGO, 1 to AMS... numerous A330s to AMS, CDG and others. All very full.

Sounds like a failure of a hub to me, right? O&D traffic is nice but not necessarily required except on airliners.net. The DTW airport has tremendous logistics and can push alot of metal around.

I agree with everything except the loads.

I've been non-revving a lot this year and the flights to and from AMS and NRT have often been wide open with more than half of the 65 World Business class seats available.

Now it could be that cargo and the passengers that are booked are making the flights profitable still. But they haven't looked full to me lately when I've checked or been on them.

Check some of the ones from NRT to DTW next week. Some have more than 250 seats open out of 400 (the later flight in particular, that gets in with less connections available).
 

crj567

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I agree with everything except the loads.

I've been non-revving a lot this year and the flights to and from AMS and NRT have often been wide open with more than half of the 65 World Business class seats available.

Now it could be that cargo and the passengers that are booked are making the flights profitable still. But they haven't looked full to me lately when I've checked or been on them.

Check some of the ones from NRT to DTW next week. Some have more than 250 seats open out of 400 (the later flight in particular, that gets in with less connections available).

What you have seen is BAGGAGE flights! As the General says BAGGAGE is where the future lies!!!! Profits from BAGGAGE, just like the 777 flown all back and forth to AFRICA!

-Other airlines are FOOLS! FOOLS I SAY!! BAGGAGE flights have more SYNERGIES than any of us could ever imagine!!!

BAGGAGE!!!!

-RA and Steenland are so freaking smart, no one can keep up! Just forget about all else, and carry BAGGAGE for profits!! DTW will be the BAGGAGE (and crackhead with sqeegee) capital of the universe!!
-AWESOME PLAN!!
 

wmuflyguy

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AMAZING!

-Let's see, this city is beyond broke... The average house price is about 7K now (no kidding.) Looks like a FABULOUS place for a freaking mega-hub!!

-I guess the sunny side of Detriot would be that the landing fees are a steal, and you can get a free windshield wash from all the crackheads with squeegees who are undoubtedly overrunning the airport at this very moment!!

-Synergies Aplenty!!!

Except the airport isn't even in the city of Detroit, you probably should look at the surrounding suburbs for their median home value and they aren't anywhere close to 7k (though most are under the national average).

It gives people another option instead of having to go to JFK or more likely ORD (on your competitors).

Some cities within about 30 minutes of the airport and AVG home Value:


Livonia 132k
Ann Arbor 167k
Novi 174k
Farmington 150k
Canton 129k
Northville 185k
Romulus 95k
Oak Park 90k
Bloomfield Hills 477k
Ypsilanti 97k
Saline 132k
Gross pointe shore 278k
Gross pointe woods 115k
 
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