Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:05 pm

Midwest Express In 2005

Wed Jun 28, 2000 1:59 pm

As you can probably tell, I'm a huge fan of Midwest Express and am wondering about their future. Could you have a look in the old crystal ball and tell me what you see regarding these issues?

1. Are they moving any part of their operations to IND/MCI/OMA?
2. Will they be able to expand their MKE ops at all? (I read in old threads that there was some problem as far as tax beaks from the state of WI)
3. What future routes do you see for them in the next few years?
4. Will they ever go int'l or overseas (say, in a 2x2 757)?

Feel free to speculate on any or all of these questions. Thanks a lot!  
Ryan (the Midwest Express fan in Japan)
Posts: 1384
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 7:41 am

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 12:49 am

I'm a huge fan (and an employee) of MidEx, and many of the questions are still up in the air.

1. If they move their operations, OMA/MCI would probably be the likely choices of movement. Their presence at OMA would be viable, but the lack of expansion gates due to Omaha's small terminal and airfield and maintenance facilities is limiting. MCI has the room for expansion, and would be willing to add a maintenance facility, but its more costly than OMA is.

2. Their MKE ops aren't being stopped from expansion due to size. You've been to MKE, and for those who haven't, its got more gates than MEM, and is one of the most modern airports in the upper midwest...it has to be since they're #1 diversion for ORD flights. Their expansion is more in fleet upgrading. Their 328jets are extremely popular, and they're looking to purchase some 728s and 428s as well. The only problem is MKE is the only hub airport in the world that charges property tax on all facilities AND aircraft. No other airport does that. Paying property tax fees on aircraft is preventing them from the ability to size out orders and expand the way they want to. The issue will be presented again this fall when the state legislature convenes again. They've actually talked to Boeing briefly about the 717...its a viable replacement for their D93s, with only a 2 week conversion time for pilots with the same dispatch reliability as their current fleet. Expansion will not happen unless the legislature changes their ways.

3. Future routes include MSP, PDX, ABQ, CLT, IAH, and possibly MEM.

4. Overseas flights would be excellent. It probably would never happen with the way their ops are run, and if they would, it would be a 2-2-2 config. on a 767. To go 2-2 on a 757 would mean removing 33% of seats, while going 2-2-2 on a 767 would mean removing only 15% of seats. But, throwing a boeing (nice rhyme!) would throw off their fleet continuity. A 2-4-2 MD-11 would be ideal. If only.
I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 1:20 am

I can tell you five things about the near term:

1. Rising fuel costs have eaten into profitability and have dropped earnings per share.

2. Skyway is facing a crew shortage (as are other regionals).

3. Milwaukee is not part of MEH's current expansion plans. No matter how you cut the pie, tax break or not. The aircraft are now committed to other cities.

4. Non-stop MCI--DCA service. The aircraft will flow through non-stop MCI-SFO!!

5. Although it's undergoing a bouncy flight path right now, profitability will improve (although not to previous levels) as MEH addresses its crew shortages
and finds niches outside of MKE which has to be on the sideline due to the fact that WI turned its back on a great thing. (For you WN fans, I betcha you'll see some fat little orange Boeings arrive in MKE soon!)

Longer Term outlook (next three years):

1. Skyway will be just about all jet and you will see IND as its secondary hub. I think you will also see the 428s take over what had been DC-9 10 series routes to a larger extent.

2. MCI is a busier station than OMA. It may never officially get beyond the Focal Point level real soon--but it will definitely be an inflight crew base. If MCI is not officially designated the third hub, look for IND. The thing that prevents MCI from being an "official hub" today is that MEH committed 6 years ago to OMA (before MCI was big), and that airlines have such a shaky history in Kansas City. MIDEX is doing just fine.

3. You will see the first 717s.

4. New service to MSY, SEA, SNA, SDO, HPN (to name a few)--probably from MCI and IND.

Five year outlook:

1. All DC-9s will be replaced by the 717 with MD-90s replacing the MD-80s.

2. Skyway all jet

3. MKE, IND and MCI will be the hubs (OMA will be focal point and crew base).

4. The state of WI will realize how badly it had F***ed up and give the candy store back to MEH by now. MKE will reassume its place in expansion plans. However, as ORD, DTW, and MSP grow over congested, MKE will be EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE AS A HUB!

5. Take-over candidate by a major. My gut instinct here is that PAX will be utterly fed up with bad service, airport congestion, etc to the point that majors will re-look at their ways of doing business. If they can't copy it, they'll buy it.. MIDEX will be a hot commodity as a full service off shoot to a major. MKE will be an attractive hub. It'll be the inverse of Continental Lite/Shuttle by United/Delta Express--wait and see on this one, but it will be a money maker.
Posts: 68
Joined: Wed May 24, 2000 12:47 am

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 3:07 am

It sounds like Midwest Express could no longer wait for the state of WI to put through the tax break and decided to proceed with an expansion that puts MKE on the sideline. What a shame! MKE is a great airport and MidEx a great airline!

Posts: 1384
Joined: Thu Mar 09, 2000 7:41 am

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 5:44 am

I'm not sure that Southwest would make a real large presence in the MKE area. Their focus is to find alternate, close spots for popular destinations. MDW instead of ORD. PVD instead of BOS. But, they could certainly run a scheduled service to MKE and make me happy.

If YX pulled their crew base and 'hub' out, the higher-ups would probably not move their maintenace facility out. However, there would be the entire east end of the D concourse mostly empty. They could easily operate from D30, 34, 36, and 38--same amount of gates they have at OMA. That would leave 15 gates empty.

Their original MD-88s serve their purpose well--couldn't see an MD-90 in the near future.

DC9CAPT, do you work for YX?

I mean, for the right price I’ll fight a lion. - Mike Tyson
Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:05 pm

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 9:56 am

Thanks a lot for the tips!  I've been out of the loop for a while, so it's good to hear what's up with the hometown airline. Are they honestly considering pulling their crew base and hub out of MKE? Have there been discussions about it with management and employees? Man, I hope not!  
Posts: 602
Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2011 12:34 am

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 11:55 am

OOOOPS...Can someone help me with what SDO and HPN are???

I'm too lazy (right now) to go find my book!!!  

Posts: 158
Joined: Mon Jun 05, 2000 12:05 pm

RE: Midwest Express In 2005

Thu Jun 29, 2000 2:34 pm

My book's at home and I'm at work, but if memory serves HPN is in suburban New York City (Hennepin County, I think). As far as SDO, I was wondering if maybe they meant San Diego (SAN). Hope it helps!  


Thu Jun 29, 2000 10:44 pm

What was I thinking?!

SDO?! I did mean SAN! MIDEX used to fly there with their MD-88 continuing from LAX. I think they may re-visit service there at some point down the road from a station other than MKE.

This is all personal speculation....

HPN is White Plains (Westchester County) in New York. Very lucrative market.

Like Mlsrar said, PDX could come into play. But MSP?! Don't think so!!! Remember, MIDEX tried to go head-to-head with NW from MKE to DTW and pulled out. They won't enter into direct competition with NW, and now that Sun Country is there too, I just don't see it--out of MKE at least.

Everything has been speculation, any growth will be conservative and well thought out. Pilot interviewees are being told that the flight deck crews will double over the course of the next few years.

Also, the 717 does seem the more logical replacement for the DC-9, but the rumors have it that Airbus has been considered. MEH will probably stick to a one-style airframe much in the same way that WN has, to go to Airbus would mean a huge investment to re-do the maintenance and operational infrastructure--wait and see, I wouldn't count on it.

The MD-88s were put into service under a lease agreement in 1989 and have served well. I don't think they'll disappear for a long time.

I don't think you will see the Corporate HQ move from MKE, there is too much history--regardless of whether or not WI gave them the shaft. New aircraft won't be used there, however, until the legislators come to their senses. Too bad because the airport wants to expand.

No, WN won't build a significant presence at MKE, but I would bet on a route or two in the next few years. It will be an opportunity cost to MEH for not expanding.

Anyway you look at it, MEH long term outlook is rosy. They will come through this bumpy road real soon.
Posts: 276
Joined: Tue Jun 29, 1999 7:20 am

RE: Corrections/Addendums

Fri Jun 30, 2000 2:37 am

Do you think there's any chance of them flying to IAH? Continental is really just now developing MKE-IAH (we had just one flight for some time, but now a second has been added). Either I or one of my family members flies the route once a month, as we have family up there. I do like CO, but would love to fly MidEx...

Go Astros!

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