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CarlosSi
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New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 3:09 am

Not much news for the revived Midwest Express brand so it seems. Looks like covid killed it?

Perhaps, what would have been a better way for the airline to get restarted and what went wrong/is wrong with their current strategy?

I'm no business expert, but based on successful airline stories, a couple points I would have done differently:

-Not use CRJ aircraft. Nothing smaller than an E75. Maybe some leased a220 (if those exist now) or some cheap e190s that have recently been retired (heck Delta is letting to some 717s...). I guess that might be too big, but it's efficient. Personally E75s are very popular with passengers and are decently-sized. Without having to deal with scope, maybe a sweet deal from Embraer on some some E175-E2s as they aren't doing well in the US? Even just a few.

-Not rely on some third-party to fly their planes (Elite Airways?). Something about outsourcing your main and only product seems sketchy.

-Focus on routes with no service out of MKE and with potential higher-yield and high PDEW. I guess they did ok here with that. I forget what routes they had announced.

-Either get the "front of the plane" full, or do no-frills, bare-fare style like Spirit to get people to fill their planes. If I recall I don't think that's really how Midwest had intended on running, rather offering a good product than a "pay as you go" model like the ULCCs. Maybe some sort of hybrid system, or at least offer more transparency rather than stiff people at the last second for checking a bag at the gate (Spirit charges $100 at the gate). Not a good thing to be recognized for and certainly will turn off people from flying with you again when they remember that $50 fare turned into $200 the last time. Bad when small and early in the game. Aside from that, also trying to be a "full-service airline" like AA or UA early in the game will get it downed and bleeding fast. Heck, what exactly was the new Midwest's business strategy? The US version of Aeromar?

Southwest is pretty strong now though, and I've noticed United has added a bunch of decent routes which would've worked well for MKE like Florida (can't usually go wrong with Florida). Not sure what niche they can fill now that other airlines have connected quite a few dots already.
 
DaCubbyBearBar
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:26 am

Completely forgot about the second coming of Midwest Express. Nothing on them. Maybe they are laying in the weeds waiting for an opportunity
I am me and no one else...so my opinions are mine
 
steex
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 5:35 am

The first and third bullets from the OP prove problematic for any such reboot. Utilizing a plane larger than a CRJ is ideal, but if they are to focus on unserved markets from MKE, they'll be almost exclusively serving markets which can't fill anything larger with good yields.
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 6:08 am

steex wrote:
The first and third bullets from the OP prove problematic for any such reboot. Utilizing a plane larger than a CRJ is ideal, but if they are to focus on unserved markets from MKE, they'll be almost exclusively serving markets which can't fill anything larger with good yields.


True. I think that would make something like the E175 more ideal. Seems like mostly anything is more efficient than a CR2. Plus nobody likes the plane very much for being cramped.

They’d have to play it really safe and keep their ego from expanding too fast like Norwegian, assuming they’re still planning to start again.
 
TTailedTiger
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:38 am

Now would seem like a good time. Lots of pilots needing work, lots of cheap aircraft available, and passenger demand picking up again.
 
Metjetceo
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 10:59 am

They were in litigation with the Air Carrier (the New Midwest was a Part 380 Public Charter Operator...not an airline) long before COVID.
The CRJ that was painted in their livery is in a boneyard being dismantled (saw a pic about a year ago).

You need to have a business plan that is more than we will serve cookies on our plane...and you need to do it on something better than a 50 seat CRJ when you are hubbing in a city that was taken over by F9 and WN (both new 737s/Airbuses). Then to come out of the gate and say we are all warm cookies on flights more than 1 hour and then announce Milwaukee to Grand Rapids and Milwaukee to Omaha.
 
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jfklganyc
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:08 am

I think the US travel market is saturated.

I think any medium to large city in the US has a hub, focus city, or large operation from one carrier or possibly two.

This isnt 1995. A large portion of US traffic is already carried by Southwest Jetblue Spirit and Frontier. My gut tells me any new carrier will be relegated to large operations at tertiary airports.

We will see what a well-funded start up like Breeze will do. But it is hard for a start up to get a toe hold these days


If I was looking at a start up now, I would have to do some very outside the box thinking:

COS, San Antonio, PIE, OKC, SWF.

Oldies but goodies: STL MCI IAD
 
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hOMSaR
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 11:19 am

CarlosSi wrote:
I think that would make something like the E175 more ideal. Seems like mostly anything is more efficient than a CR2. Plus nobody likes the plane very much for being cramped.


“More efficient” is only relevant if you can fill the larger plane with enough additional revenue. Otherwise, the higher base costs (lease price, trip costs, etc.) will just drive you to bankruptcy faster.

Also, while passengers may “like” the 175 better than the CRJ, they would like the nonstop even more. Since they were going to be flying niche markets without other competition, the type of plane would be irrelevant to the passenger as the alternative would be adding two hours to the trip with a connection.

The CRJ was not the problem with this business model. The real problem was lack of markets without competition where they could establish a profitable service.
I was raised by a cup of coffee.
 
MIflyer12
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 12:04 pm

You're ignoring yields in the E75 vs. CR2 comparison. If people will pay for F (and maybe Y+) the higher trip costs can be covered. The type of plane is not irrelevant to an important subset of passengers.

DL/AA/UA/AS have spent a decade fleeing from single-class express fleets. CR2s were better than Saab 340s and ATR-42s but were far from a perfect solution, especially as regional pilot wages rose.
 
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TVNWZ
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:12 pm

There really is no sustainable business plan for it to work. The past is the past. Sorry.
 
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knope2001
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 1:40 pm

They have definitely not thrown in the towel at this point:

https://www.milwaukeemag.com/midwest-ex ... milwaukee/

Odds have always been long as they are with most any proposed new airline. Their proposed business model relies heavily on business travel so it's a no-brainer that they would hold off moving forward at this point. It's possible their proposed markets never see enough business travel recovery to make their plan work, though there may be some markets a notch larger which have opened up. The further delay as business travel slowly shows signs of life is a challenge in itself as the initial burst of PR, energy and funding fades over time.

It's not clear if they have an adjusted business niche in mind, if they have a new partner they are working to come to an agreement with, if they have additional funding sources lined up, or if their plans are moslty unchanged from what as been made public. Certainly they have no need to publicly disclose their plans or position, and it's always possible they really don't see another niche, haven't been successful in coming to an agreement with another partner, or haven't the funds and/or financial prospects to pull this off yet but aren't willing to give up just yet. They could also be similarly tight-lipped and be working hand-in-hand with a major regional airline who can relatively quickly roll this out as an at-risk partner when they feel the business travel market has recovered enough to launch. Or it could be somewhere in the middle. That they have said in the past month or so they are still working to launch tell us pretty much only that they have not given up.

As a reminder to the conversation which is likely to get re-hashed, it might be better to think of this as a relaunched Skyway (YX*) because that's really the niche here -- not the luxury service at coach fares model of the original Midwest Express whose model worked originally worked for 15 years (in some ways) in spite of rather than because of the high-cost service level. The relaunch Midwest Express niche is to serve markets in a sweet spot where a nonstop flight has a solid advantage over driving, there's enough business demand willing to pay high fares for nonstop well-times flights, but the market isn't large enough to attract and support service from a big airline.
 
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JBo
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 2:26 pm

The best way to relaunch Midwest: Don't.

YX died a long, painful, ugly death. Don't make it worse by trying to revive it.
I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.
 
steex
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 7:31 pm

MIflyer12 wrote:
You're ignoring yields in the E75 vs. CR2 comparison. If people will pay for F (and maybe Y+) the higher trip costs can be covered. The type of plane is not irrelevant to an important subset of passengers.

DL/AA/UA/AS have spent a decade fleeing from single-class express fleets. CR2s were better than Saab 340s and ATR-42s but were far from a perfect solution, especially as regional pilot wages rose.


But for a Midwest relaunch that's focusing on unserved cities, the target markets are Milwaukee to places like Omaha, Grand Rapids, etc. These aren't markets that need more seats or realistically provide any kind of F service due to stage length - heck, they'd probably be better off outfitting a CR2 with something like 6F/36Y (almost like a shrunk version of the CRJ-550 treatment) than scaling up to an E75 for those kinds of routes.

If the plan is to avoid direct route competition, then direct product competition is/should be approached differently as well. Those bigger airlines are fleeing single-class fleets in competition with one another using regional jets on loads of competitive city pairs over their hubs. If a relaunched Midwest is losing MKE-GRR business pax to MKE-DTW/ORD-GRR and MKE-OMA business pax to MKE-MSP/ORD-OMA, the problem is not the onboard product.
 
jplatts
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Mon Apr 12, 2021 8:29 pm

steex wrote:
But for a Midwest relaunch that's focusing on unserved cities, the target markets are Milwaukee to places like Omaha, Grand Rapids, etc. These aren't markets that need more seats or realistically provide any kind of F service due to stage length - heck, they'd probably be better off outfitting a CR2 with something like 6F/36Y (almost like a shrunk version of the CRJ-550 treatment) than scaling up to an E75 for those kinds of routes.

If the plan is to avoid direct route competition, then direct product competition is/should be approached differently as well. Those bigger airlines are fleeing single-class fleets in competition with one another using regional jets on loads of competitive city pairs over their hubs. If a relaunched Midwest is losing MKE-GRR business pax to MKE-DTW/ORD-GRR and MKE-OMA business pax to MKE-MSP/ORD-OMA, the problem is not the onboard product.


In addition to the connecting options available to OMA through ORD and MSP, WN also offers 1-stop connecting service between MKE and OMA through STL. There are also some WN FF's in both markets who are making connections between the two cities through STL. A relaunched Midwest would also have to worry about possibly losing some MKE-OMA business pax to WN MKE-STL-OMA connections, especially with the FF base that WN already has in both markets.

The situation is somewhat different on MKE-GRR as connecting to GRR from MKE through DTW on DL would require significant backtracking, and some of the connecting options through DTW have a 2-3 hour layover. There can be a long layover on MKE-ORD-GRR connections on AA/UA, and it can take over 4 hours to get to GRR from MKE on a connecting flight through ORD, and even longer if ORD-GRR flights get delayed.

The Lake Express ferry between Milwaukee and Muskegon can get you to Muskegon in approximately 2 1/2 hours, and Downtown Grand Rapids is a 45-minute driving time from the Muskegon Ferry Terminal. Taking the Lake Express ferry and driving to Grand Rapids from Muskegon might also be faster than connecting to GRR through ORD or DTW as layovers or delays can make the Lake Express ferry option faster than connecting through ORD/DTW.

A relaunched Midwest Express can probably more easily compete against connecting options offered on US3 carriers or the Lake Express ferry as a MKE-GRR nonstop flight can get a business traveler to Grand Rapids more quickly than a connecting flight or the Lake Express ferry can.
 
Metjetceo
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Tue Apr 13, 2021 12:55 am

You’re missing a main point. They are a public charter operator. As such no IATA code. No IATA code no tickets in GDIS. No tickets in GDIS no business travel, no Expedia etc. Sales will have to be organic via web or calls to a center and businesses that use Agents/Amex travel/etc will only book through GDIS providers with negotiated rates
 
MO11
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:00 am

Metjetceo wrote:
You’re missing a main point. They are a public charter operator. As such no IATA code. No IATA code no tickets in GDIS. No tickets in GDIS no business travel, no Expedia etc. Sales will have to be organic via web or calls to a center and businesses that use Agents/Amex travel/etc will only book through GDIS providers with negotiated rates


I thought this was going to be Elite Airways dba Midwest Express, using all of Elite's authorities (like Vision Airlines dba PeoplExpress).

Also, you can buy a public charter flight (like JSX Air) through a GDS. In fact, Public Charters (.com) worked its several enterprises this way.
 
2175301
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:05 am

As a former Midwest diehard customer I thought the size of the aircraft and initial launch cities were OK. It is a limited market and you start small. Larger aircraft could only be justified after you re-established your client base.

I have great hopes for them in the future - and look to return to flying them. I'm allergic to a variety of food items and cannot eat the cookies... but they smell delicious.

Nonstop service to a variety of midwest cites would be perfect. Southwest, my current preferred carrier, would never compete as they would not have the required loads.

Have a great day,
 
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CarlosSi
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Tue Apr 13, 2021 2:41 am

Metjetceo wrote:
You’re missing a main point. They are a public charter operator. As such no IATA code. No IATA code no tickets in GDIS. No tickets in GDIS no business travel, no Expedia etc. Sales will have to be organic via web or calls to a center and businesses that use Agents/Amex travel/etc will only book through GDIS providers with negotiated rates


Well that’s lame. What kind of business they tryina run? Sounds like a whole nother animal to me.

Maybe MKE just isn’t the right place for a new airline, as it’s crowded with other airlines and doesn’t have the expanding economy for it either. Maybe another city like PIT, CLE, even MCI which was a hub for it before. Just some examples, not that any may actually work out but...
 
Metjetceo
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Re: New Midwest Express dead? And how it should have restarted

Tue Apr 13, 2021 10:15 am

Metjetceo wrote:
You’re missing a main point. They are a public charter operator. As such no IATA code. No IATA code no tickets in GDIS. No tickets in GDIS no business travel, no Expedia etc. Sales will have to be organic via web or calls to a center and businesses that use Agents/Amex travel/etc will only book through GDIS providers with negotiated rates


All I was saying is that with that setup you dont focus on business lanes as businesses literally may not be able to book you if you are a GDIS. When that happens you need to focus on leisure until you become an airline and can have flights in a GDIS system that are bookable by agencies. That being the case Omaha and Grand Rapids are horrible first choices as there is no method for businesses to purchase tickets through the agencies they use.

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