Lat41 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 502 posts, RR: 0 Posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 3151 times:
In my opinion, before 9-11. Midway was a fairly successful carrier. they, however were trying to serve too many cities too fast.They bought or leased too many aircraft too fast, especially the 737-700s where I believe they did not yet need the size, range or sophistication. Their success however, absolutely depended on a roaring economy and full aircraft and the ability to pay their high debt. The economic downturn after the terrorist attacks sent an already overextended Midway immediately into a tailspin. This "grow fast and go everywhere now!" pattern always ends up bad even way back to the Braniff days years ago.
Any similarities with any carriers today that you can think of?
Womack17 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 496 posts, RR: 5
Reply 3, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 3065 times:
"So it wasn't doing all that well, and to say it was "a successful carrier" is a bit of a stretch."
I don't think it is a stretch at all to say that Midway was a successful airline. For numerous years that filled a market need at RDU and offered an excellent product. They began with a fleet of leased Fokker 100's and a singular Airbus 320. In addition they initially had a commuter relationship with Great Lakes and flew BE1's on intra-Carolina and bordering state routes. They dropped Great Lakes and went to Corporate Air - this change brought about an aircraft change to the J32's. The trouble for Midway began when American dropped Midway from their frequent flyer program. Initially AA had encouraged JI to began new operations at RDU and allowed them to lease AA gates in the Terminal C - the hub AA built before coming to RDU. When AA ended their hub relationship at RDU - that move had more to do with acquiring Eastern's hub space at MIA than any other reason, but that's another thread topic. JI was doing exceptional business and things were going along swimmingly - they had added many CRJ's and numerous 737G's - and many new destinations were being added. Late in 2000, the rumblings began that AA wanted to increase their own offerings at RDU and as a result of that they terminated their FF piggy-back with JI. For many months Midway tried to continue without any FF program and business begin to decline. They eventually added Northwest Airlines' FF program, but by then it was just too late and JI was forced to cease flight operations as they went into bankruptcy. They returned all the new 737G's and cancelled orders for the remainder of their CRJ's. They did manage to keep the CRJ's they owned and were briefly re-incarnated as a US Airways Express carrier with flights to LGA and DCA. By this time the damage had been done and they were ultimately forced to sell the remainder of their assets to satisfy the demands of their bankruptcy. Many of us who were loyal JI fliers still mourn them to this day. They had an excellent product with superb cabin service and on-time flights. There were numerous factors that lead to their demise, but the removal of the AA-JI business relationship was the singular most significant reason for the demise of Midway Airlines.
Oh how I miss Midway Airlines. A class act right to then end.
Lat41 From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 502 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours ago) and read 3030 times:
That was actually another Midway. A previous version had a hub at PHL and I believe their code was ML. There was also another version back further with the emphasis actually on MDW.
Not to pick on specifically Midway but all those carriers that get a lot of new destinations quickly, get a bunch of aircraft, ring up massive debt, and try to manage everything at once while slugging it out with the majors. That is still going on today with some of these newer carriers and it leads to "crash and burn"
Atrude777 From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 5717 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2972 times:
ATA...and we'll see if operating more than one aircraft type changes the results of Airtran and Jetblue...
...and Independence Air....and Frontier....
all those airlines had a one type fleet, and now are changing to two type fleets, i think something is going to go wrong, SWA has done so well remaining a one type fleet, and now the LCC have been too, but now they are building up the fleet, i see trouble in the distance.
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
Cody From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1940 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2957 times:
The second (yellow and purple) Midway actually started out flying out of MDW airport. I remember they were all excited when American Airlines' flight attendants went on strike. I think it was Midway Mark 2's second day of operation. They flew from MDW to LGA, DEN, and a few other cities. Several months later, they moved the entire operation to RDU and continued to serve the same cities except DEN. They even served MDW to RDU for a month or two before dropping MDW all together.
Tango-Bravo From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 3811 posts, RR: 27
Reply 10, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2925 times:
Lat41 writes: This "grow fast and go everywhere now!" pattern always ends up bad even way back to the Braniff days years ago.
Any similarities with any carriers today that you can think of?
Yes. The legacies incurred rather huge debt from the late 1980s thinking they had to "go everywhere." Although they were better positioned than Midway Airlines to continue operating, they have been non-profit businesses ever since, nothwitstanding the short-lived profitibility of the late 1990s when, due to a convergence of anomolies, all it took to be profitable in the airline business was to show up (although TWA somehow managed to be the exception). In the aftermath of 9/11, the consequences of "Midway Airlines Syndrome" that were set in motion almost a decade earlier -- and were already catching up with the legacies -- were simply accelerated.
OttoPylit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2887 times:
I think if Midway had held onto the CRJ's and F-100's, they would have fared better off. After the first shutdown and then returning to the air with the 737's, although I thought the airplane was too big for their markets, I thought it was a nice airline. Smooth, smart paintjob, decent uniforms, nice service. I remember telling a flight attendant that I was an acquaintance with as I saw her in the terminal one day, "Its good to see you guys back" to which she replied, "Its good to be back." That was not long before the final BK filing. They had a good thing going for them with the mint and hot towel deal, but the 737's were just too big, and the one A320 they initially used was not smart either. They should have kept with a smaller fleet type until they expanded enough to fill the seats on those 737's. Just my two cents in the downfall of a nice looking airline.
FlyPIJets From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 965 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2844 times:
This topic is as much a "what happen to JI topic" as "are there any like JI now". In order to answer the latter, I guess you have to look at what happened to JI.
First, there was the missed opportunity to go private. Goodnight of SAS (the computer company not the airline) was the major share holder and offered to buy all outstanding shares at an ok price. Too bad this didn't happen for JI. Goodnight is a pretty good business man and could have done quite a bit in overseeing JI. But, instead this created ill feelings between owners and board members at JI.
Second, there was the F-100 problem. JI was a small airline, if AA can't get these airplanes repaired cost effectively, how would JI be able to do it. JI was in such a bind over the F-100's, it was going to cost them a fortune to keep them and a fortune to get rid of them. Too bad to, the F-100 was a no-brainer of an aircraft before the break up of Fokker.
Third, the 737-700. Too much aircraft too soon, you say? Only in hindsight. JI wanted to be able to go transcon. Could you blame them? The O&D is there and they had the feeder traffic. Maybe the 717 would have been a better for them. Maybe they should have hired a charter for the transcon, like Airtran does. That's hindsight, though.
Fourth, AA drops JI from its FF program. This was done at the request of the AA pilots union. They feared AA was going to take over JI after JI purchased the 737's and that was going to impact them negatively. This was very unfortunate for JI, because JI was going to loose a significant number of O&D business travelers. Yes the biz customer will fly a certain airline to get the free ticket for the wife and kids for vacation. You just really can't underestimate the impact this had on JI. It was a huge set back. Womack17 has it right.
Now with that in mind, are there in carriers in the same situation. The closest I can think of to Midway at RDU is (was) National at LAS. Very close situations, but National at LAS was choked to death by greedy casino owners. But otherwise - sad to see these two airlines no longer with us. The employees of each were wonderful.
Without the aid of 20/20 hindsight, I think Midway made a pretty good go for it and just didn't make it.
(I know, a little long, wonder if anyone will really read it. If you do, thanks)
USAIRWAYS321 From United States of America, joined Jul 2001, 1851 posts, RR: 8
Reply 15, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 6 hours ago) and read 2708 times:
If we're also thinking of similar situations for past airlines, a textbook example of overexpansion was Vanguard. They had a good product and a good niche serving destinations from MCI that weren'y served, or were underserved by the majors, but when they started to go head to head with carriers with much deeper pockets than they had, they found themselves outmatched with nowhere to turn, as in retaliation, a few airlines (especially AA) started to go on the attack against NJ.
MSYtristar From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (10 years 11 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 2662 times:
I have fond memories of Midway. Great service. I used to know the MSY JI Station Manager when I was with Vanguard. Right before the end, things got so bad that she actually had to buy the fuelers lunch in a trade for fuel for the 737.