has been cited as a market with among the highest yields out there. But that's because it is very short, high fare, and almost nobody actually flies it as a fare-paying local O&D passenger. I think that's where the "most profitable" confustion probably came in.
Anyway, now to NW
's service in the market.
Northwest's reason for MKE
, at least in the jet age, was primarily done to tag MKE
onto an ORD
trip. Routings like MKE
and the like.
Now before 1982 or so, Northwest operated a very signficant operation at O'Hare, second only to MSP
in the Northwest system. They had as many as 70 or so flights per day nonstop to places such as CLE
, RST, HML, MSP
and a few others I'm forgetting. So their MKE
flights did feed some connections through ORD
as well, but not primarily so. And of course back in those days there was regular interlining and joint fares, too, so if you were flying Milwaukee-Syracuse you may well have flown MKE
on Northwest and ORD
With the PATCO strike in August of 1981, ORD
flights were trimmed back and MKE
was one of the easiest markets for them to drop. In the handful of years after that they were restored on and off, but I believe only for service in markets like MKE
. The ORD
operation was drawing well back by then, and interline agreements were also going away. So the limited return of MKE
in years like 1983/1984/1985 were just very limited revivals, primarly on a few seasonal routes which stopped in ORD