As of 2006 Northwest was the world's sixth largest airline in terms of domestic and international scheduled passenger miles flown and the U.S.'s sixth largest airline in terms of domestic passenger miles flown. In addition to operating one of the largest domestic route networks in the U.S., Northwest carries more passengers across the Pacific Ocean (5.1 million in 2004) than any other U.S. carrier, and carries more domestic air cargo than any other American passenger airline. Northwest Airlines' regional flights are operated under the name Northwest Air link by Mesaba Airlines, Pinnacle Airlines, and Compass Airlines. Northwest Airlines is currently a minority owner of Midwest Airlines, holding a 40% stake in the company. Its frequent flyer program is called World Perks. Northwest Airlines' tagline is "Now you're flying smart." On April 14, 2008, Northwest announced it will be merging with Delta Air Lines, subject to regulatory review. If approved, the new airline will retain only the Delta Air Lines name and brand, and become the largest airline in the world.
Northwest Airlines was founded on September 1, 1926 by Colonel Lewis Brittin, under the name Northwest Airways. ...
Northwest began flying passengers in 1927. In 1928, the airline started its first international route with service to Winnipeg, Canada. The airline's operations were expanded to smaller cities in the region by the end of the decade. In 1931 Northwest sponsored Charles and Anne Lindbergh on a pioneering flight to Japan, scouting what would become known as the Northwest Airlines Great Circle route, and proving that flying through Alaska could save as much as 2,000miles (3,000km) on a New York-Tokyo route. In 1933, Northwest was designated to fly the Northern Transcontinental Route from New York City to Seattle, Washington; it adopted the name Northwest Airlines the following year as a result of the Air Mail Scandal. Northwest stock began to be publicly traded in 1941. During World War II, Northwest joined the war effort by flying military equipment and personnel from the continental United States to Alaska. During this time, Northwest began painting their aircraft tails red, as a visual aid in the often harsh weather conditions. This experience with the severe northern climate led the government to designate Northwest as the United States' main North Pacific carrier following the war.
In the spring of 1947 Northwest began staffing its Tokyo base with company personnel, flying them on the Great Circle route in twin-engine Douglas DC-3 aircraft. On July 15, 1947, Northwest became the first airline to fly a commercial passenger flight from the U.S. to Japan using The Manila, a Douglas DC-4 aircraft. The flight originated at Wold-Chamberlain Field (the predecessor of today's Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport), and made its way to Tokyo by way of Edmonton, Anchorage, and Shemya in the Aleutian Islands. From Tokyo, the flight