Northwest to Pare Its Schedule

It hopes to limit flight cancellations.
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Northwest Airlines


is planning to reduce capacity as part of a bid to limit the number of flights it will have to cancel in the coming weeks.

During June, Northwest's mainline schedule has been hurt by several factors, notably thunderstorms, air traffic control congestion and pilot absenteeism, which has been 80% higher this month than in June 2006. The cumulative impact forced the airline to cancel hundreds of flights during the past week.

To address the situation, Northwest is ending its second Detroit to Frankfurt flight, 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 a day -- a 3% domestic mainline capacity reduction -- to increase its "reserve" of pilot flying hours.

Northwest said it's continuing 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.

Because summer storms 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. The carrier hopes the move will minimize the impact to the airline's flying schedule when bad weather and air traffic control delays do occur.

Additionally, Northwest said it will continue its efforts to notify and rebook passengers who are affected by flight cancellations.