In its talks with United Airlines and Northwest Airlines about a possible combination, Delta executives have spoken in near absolute terms about their desire and intention of keeping the Delta
name and the headquarters in Atlanta. But aviation experts say such certainties are hard to achieve in complex negotiations that often involve competing interests.
are likely just as eager to see any combination they are involved in keep the Northwest name and the company based in Eagan, Minn., as United officials would likely want to keep the United name and
base in Chicago. "This is a business of egos," points out Robert Mann, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based airline consultant.
Terry Trippler, a Minneapolis airline expert, has noticed some subtle changes in wording in how the airlines have addressed the issues. He says one possible scenario is a combination where two airlines maintain their separate names and keep their headquarters cities as operational hubs, with a board of directors located in one city.