'World News Now' Finds 'Good News for Air Travel,' Leaves Out Merger

     “World News Now,” which airs on the cable news arm of ABC News, had a treat for viewers on Oct. 31, but the “good news” didn’t mention the recently announced merger between Northwest and Delta.


     “World News Now” called fare declines “good news for air travel for once,” in its news brief.


     “Speaking of money, major U.S. airlines are cutting fares for the Thanksgiving and winter holiday seasons. The airlines see price cutting as necessary in the face of a slumping economy. Northwest Airlines started the rush with what basically amounts to a holiday fare sale and most other major airlines are matching Northwest’s prices. So if you are planning to fly for the holidays then you could see a savings of up to 25 percent,” co-host Jeremy Hubbard said on the broadcast.


     Northwest’s “Holiday Fare Sale” which offers travelers attractive airfares during the upcoming holiday season for travel throughout the continental 48 United States and between the continental 48 states and Canada wasn’t new, according to an Oct. 29 press release. It’s actually the twelfth time Northwest has held the holiday sale.


     But Hubbard did not explain the upside of Northwest Airlines Corporation’s (NYSE: NWA) new role in the industry after its merger with Delta Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: DAL). The new airline will be the largest ever.


     The U.S. Department of Justice gave final approval to Delta and Northwest on Oct. 29 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported on Oct. 30 that the merger would generate about $35 billion in annual revenue and employ about 75,000 people.


     Some journalists were unenthusiastic about this merger when the deal was in its infancy.


     ABC’s “World News with Charles Gibson,” was downbeat April 15, the day the CEOs from Delta and Northwest made an official announcement about their intentions to merge. “World News” went out of its way to find opposition to the proposed deal.

     “But there was swift opposition,” ABC correspondent Lisa Stark said. “A powerful lawmaker from Minnesota, where Northwest is based, called it one of the worst developments in aviation history.”

     “If this merger goes forward, other carriers will follow,” pro-union Democratic Congressman James Oberstar said. “There will be a cascade of mergers.”

     NBC’s “Today” looked at the possible Northwest/Delta merger Feb. 15 and focused on how the deal could negatively affect consumers and employees, while ignoring the possibility that the survival of the companies may hinge on it.


     “But airline mergers have traditionally meant job losses, especially in the airlines’ hub cities, as well as fewer flight options for passengers in smaller cities and higher ticket prices,” NBC correspondent Tom Costello said. “In Atlanta, we found frequent travelers fearing that’s exactly what could happen.”


     Despite media complaints, mergers can have positive impacts. Investor’s Business Daily reported Oct. 31 that in general airline stocks have been boosted by low oil prices, but also by the merger.