Across the pond: Eager for growth, Northwest expands international service, especially to European cities.

Jul. 20--Northwest Airlines is making it easier for travelers to fly to Europe this year -- though Twin Cities travelers will have to connect through another city first. Fresh from bankruptcy and itching to grow, the airline is initiating or...

Northwest has said the Detroit hub is "positioned favorably to serve Western Europe" given a range of about 3,100 miles for a 757 with winglets. From Chicago, for example, the same plane would be limited to Britain.

Northwest Chief Executive Doug Steenland said in May that the airline might add nonstop service from the Twin Cities to China or Europe with new Boeing 787 jets, which start arriving next year. Northwest spokesman Dean Breest said the Twin Cities will see some new nonstop international routes, but he couldn't elaborate as to when or where.

Northwest, the fifth-largest U.S. airline by traffic, this week asked the Transportation Department for permission to fly nonstop between its Detroit hub and both Shanghai and Beijing "as soon as possible." The airline is "ready to start flying right away" if the Transportation Department reverses its policy and opts to award the Aug. 1 service to a carrier that already flies to China, Executive Vice President Neal Cohen said.

Last year, the carrier lost a bid for a new China route to United Airlines, which began Washington, D.C.-Beijing service in March.

Sheryl Jean can be reached at or 651-228-5576.

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