Northwest Airlines Discusses Flight Cancellations
Northwest Airlines (NYSE: NWA) today issued the following statement regarding its recent flight cancellations and its plan to address the issue:
During June, Northwest Airlines’ mainline schedule has been negatively impacted by several factors, the most important of which are: summertime thunderstorms on the east coast and at several Northwest hubs, air traffic control congestion, and pilot absenteeism – which was 80 percent higher in June 2007 versus June 2006. The cumulative impact of these factors caused the airline to pre-cancel hundreds of flight during the past week.
Over the past week (June 22 to June 28) the average percentage of cancelled flights on a system-wide basis, including all NWA mainline and Airlink flights, was 7.6. For the same period, the average percentage of cancelled mainline flights was approximately 11.9.
Northwest is working to remedy the situation and expects to operate a normal summertime schedule by this weekend.
Northwest is continuing to take the necessary steps to address the situation including:
* Canceling its second Detroit-Frankfurt frequency, effective July 18, to free up 757 pilots to fly other routes.
* In August, the airline will take further actions to reduce its schedule by 90 flying hours per day (a three percent domestic mainline capacity reduction) to increase its “reserve” of pilot flying hours.
* The airline continues to retrain its furloughed pilots so that they can return to active flying. Northwest wants all remaining furloughed pilots to return to work as soon as possible and it will initiate new pilot hiring, if necessary.
* Recognizing that summer thunderstorms and air traffic control congestion are inevitable, starting in August, Northwest will modify the way that its pilots’ trips are scheduled, especially to and from large East Coast cities. This will minimize the impact to the airline’s flying schedule when bad weather and ATC delays do occur.
* The airline will continue its efforts to notify and re-book passengers who are impacted by flight cancellations, including:
1. Relaxing travel restrictions to help ensure flight re-accommodation as quickly as possible
2. Proactively pre-cancelling flights well in advance (1-3 days) to allow adequate time for customers to rebook
3. Fully utilizing Northwest’s Automated Flight Rebooking (AFR) system to help ensure quick re-accommodation
4. Increasing both reservations and airport staffing to assist customers with their flights, as needed
5. Contacting customers regarding the status of their flights including:
* Extensive use of the airline’s automated notification system, which alerts customers to a change in their travel plans and when possible, automatically provides new flight information.
* Aggressively promoting recently improved technology to notify customers by email and PDA of any flight schedule change.
Customers can also check the status of their flights at nwa.com. Through nwa.com, customers can utilize the airline’s “My NWA Info” flight status notification options, which provide customers with current flight information. Customers can also rebook flights, as needed, on the site. Flight status updates are also available through Northwest’s toll-free automated flight information line at 1-800-441-1818. As always, Northwest encourages customers to provide contact phone numbers and/or email addresses when making reservations to facilitate quicker notification if a flight schedule change is required.
Northwest Airlines apologies for the inconvenience that its flight scheduling issues have caused its customers. While air traffic control and weather issues will continue to impact flights in the future, the airline will continue to work diligently to minimize the impact on its customers.
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