Is the Delta-Northwest Merger Dead?

Last Updated Mar 19, 2008 6:46 PM EDT

There have been reports over the last 24 hours that Delta's pilots have come to the conclusion that they cannot come to an agreement regarding seniority integration with Northwest pilots. Since the beginning of these negotiations, management has claimed that a deal wouldn't be possible without an agreement on integration coming from all the labor groups.

So, is it dead?

I'd say that it is . . . for now. In a way, it's probably a convenient excuse for the two airlines to walk away. If oil continues to hover near $110 (and it's not expected to go much lower anytime soon), there are more urgent problems to address. Almost no airline can make money at these prices, so there are going to need to be some big operational changes soon to try to stem the losses. Delta's CEO has even said that there will changes to the business plan announced this week.

Could we see some aircraft parked? Yep. And to be honest, we probably should. The last thing an airline needs right now is a merger to get in the way of actually running an airline.