Aug 25, 2022 - News

Detroit airport signs in Japanese go back 20 years

Detroit airport sign with English and Japanese writing
DTW sign with both English and Japanese writing. Photo: Joe Guillen/Axios

Ever wonder why Japanese is the secondary language on signs throughout DTW's McNamara Terminal?

✈️ Flying the news: Some internet sleuths speculated that the language was related to Detroit's auto industry ties, but we checked and got an answer that dates to 2002, when McNamara opened and Northwest Airlines was the terminal's primary carrier.

What they're saying: "Tokyo, Japan was a Northwest hub. We believe the terminal signage featured Japanese to assist customers traveling to or connecting through Detroit from Japan," airport spokesperson Erica Donerson tells Axios.

  • "Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines officially merged in 2008, making Delta the hub carrier at DTW by 2009. Delta operates in Japan. Since the merger, the signage has not been modified; however, it may change in the future."
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