US carrier Northwest Airlines yesterday said it would launch four new flights in the region as it redeploys resources to cope with the Asian financial slowdown. The airline will launch or expand services from Osaka to Taipei, Tokyo to Las Vegas, Nagoya to Detroit, and Tokyo to Los Angeles. Northwest Airlines general manager for Hong Kong Webster O'Brien said the airline had taken the decision to expand its Japanese routes as it felt these would perform better than routes elsewhere in the region. The carrier had freed up some capacity earlier this year but reduced the number of flights into South Korea in response to that country's economic slide. Mr O'Brien said Northwest was not expecting the region to pull out of the slowdown soon but the airline was seeking to position itself for the recovery when it occurred. He said: 'We are relatively cautious on Asia this year. 'Other companies are looking for things to recover in the second half. We are looking for there to be more than a year.' Mr O'Brien said Northwest's performance in the region would depend largely on the situation in Japan where it had built up a particularly strong presence. He said: 'Japan is by far the largest market in Asia, even a small reduction in Japanese travellers impacts us heavily.' Northwest Airlines, based in St Paul, Minnesota, last week announced its first quarter profit rose 9.9 per cent year on year but revenue on Asian flights declined 15 per cent. Executives from the carrier expected the airline would lose money in the region this year but forecast that the worst of the crisis was over.