Northwest is looking to launch new services to China, India and possibly Vietnam in 2009 using its first batch of Boeing 787s.

The carrier has 18 787s on order for delivery from February 2009 and will be the first US carrier to place the new aircraft into service. "There are two logical long-haul opportunities for Northwest - China and India," says Northwest vice-president of international alliances Nat Pieper.

Northwest now serves Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai via Tokyo, and Mumbai via Amsterdam. The 787 gives it the flexibility to serve these and other markets in China or India non-stop. "From a route planning perspective the 787 is a dream," Pieper says.

He adds that Vietnam is also "a market we're interested in". Northwest may serve Vietnam non-stop or via Tokyo, where it has unlimited fifth-freedom rights and has a small Boeing 757 base used to serve intra-Asia routes.

Source: Airline Business