Article in the paper about a growing partnership between Northwest Airlines, KLM, Delta and Air France. NW and KLM have had a long term relationship where they share profits on intercontinental flights and now they want to bring the other two airlines in too. The plus side is that we could get non-stop flights to Paris. The downside is that the closer these airlines become the less competition we could get here in Minneapolis.
I don't know what the figures are but I can tell you that we really do suffer pricewise due to the hammerlock that NW has here. Nonstop flights to a non-hub (noncompetitive) city are enormously expensive. If Sun Country was big enough to be a player for business flyers the situation would be different but they just aren't.
The longterm solution to this is to loosen the hold that NW has on the airport here. The other side of that is to lighten the regulations on airline relationships. We'd go through a period of high prices as they took advantage of their monopoly but smaller, no-frills carriers would quickly move in and eat their lunch. At least domestically. Europe has been going through this for the past few years and inter-Europe flights are incredibly cheap. I think you spend less money flying from London to Dublin than you do on the cabs on each side.
Don't take this to mean that I'm against the international aspect of this deal. NW and the other Skyteam carriers really do provide a useful service by working together. Baggage and terminal problems are smoothed out by joint staff. Pricing structures are easier to work with too. Check out their Europe Pass for instance. And nonstop to Paris is very nice...