Northwest Airlines is a United States airline headquartered in Eagan, Minnesota. The airline accounts for more than 70% of passenger traffic at nearby Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport.

Northwest has the IATA designation NW. Northwest Airlines' regional flights are operated under two airlines, which operate under the name Northwest Airlink.

Northwest has three major hubs in the United States and one in Japan: Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport near Minneapolis, Minnesota and Saint Paul, Minnesota; Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport near Detroit, Michigan; Memphis International Airport in Memphis, Tennessee; and New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, Japan Northwest also operates into India from Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The airline is partnered with KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Continental Airlines, and most recently Delta Airlines. Its IATA Call Code is NW.

Northwest was formerly part of the Wings Alliance and currently codeshares with SNCF French Rail to destinations in France, and Thalys International to destinations in Belgium.


Northwest's original route was a linear transcontinental run from New York City to Seattle, Washington. In 1947, Northwest became the first U.S. airline to fly to Japan, using Boeing B-377 Stratocruisers from Seattle (direct) and Chicago, Illinois (via Anchorage, Alaska). From Tokyo, Northwest flights continued to Shanghai, Manila, and Hong Kong. (Taipei replaced Shanghai after the revolution of 1949.) With its new routes, the airline rebranded itself as Northwest Orient Airlines.

After airline deregulation, Northwest began direct flights to other Asian cities, and gradually strengthened its presence in the southern United States. It also began flying to Britain, Ireland, Germany, and Scandinavia. In 1985, Northwest purchased Republic Airlines and adopted its three-hub network centered around Minneapolis, Detroit, and Memphis. Northwest returned to its original name with the merger.

In 1993, Northwest entered its cooperative agreement with KLM, which was the largest airline partnership ever conceived at the time. Northwest gradually pulled out of its minor European destinations and focused its attention on the domestic and Asian markets once more.

If Operation Bojinka wasn't discovered after an apartment fire in Manila, Philippines, then the airline would have lost three aircraft over the Pacific Ocean flying routes from East Asia and Southeast Asia on January 21, 1995.

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