Klm Northwest: Three Years And Barely Aloft

As British Airways lays plans for a world airline empire where the sun never sets, take a look at KLM, a European rival with similar dreams of empire. Alas, its alliance with Northwest Airlines Inc. is one on which the sun can't quite manage to rise. Three years ago, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines paid $400 million for a 49% stake in the U.S. airline. Like BA and USAir Inc., the partners talked grandly of a global entente to mesh routes, cut costs, and rival the American giants. That hasn't happened. Instead, KLM has just swallowed its partner's losses.

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