JS Online Editorial

Old Feb 4, 08, 7:48 am
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JS Online Editorial

Editorial: Time for a fresh start
Milwaukee's airline remains a classy operation, but the possibility of a takeover by Northwest Airlines down the road remains worrisome.
From the Journal Sentinel
Posted: Feb. 3, 2008
AirTran Holdings has been spurned. An investment firm backed by old nemesis Northwest Airlines has been embraced. And Midwest Airlines will go on charming travelers.



But as the sale of Midwest to TPG Capital and Northwest closed Thursday, Milwaukee's hometown airline faced numerous challenges, including rising fuel prices and increased competition from AirTran, which is expanding at Mitchell International Airport, the Journal Sentinel's Tom Daykin reported (www.jsonline. com/713522).

Midwest cut the best deal it could after AirTran's hostile takeover bid, which would have meant the end of Midwest's unique culture of service. Even so, it's conceivable that Midwest one day will be swallowed up.

Northwest now owns a 47% non-management interest in Midwest - TPG owns the rest. But Northwest eventually could buy a controlling interest, and that, quite understandably, makes Milwaukee travelers nervous.

Northwest's service record in recent years has been abysmal, and it has a spotty commitment to Milwaukee. Northwest never has shown more than an on-again, off-again interest in expanding here. Its investment in Midwest was partly a strategic move to dash AirTran's dreams of building a hub smack between Northwest hubs in Minneapolis and Detroit.

Although AirTran's takeover of Midwest wouldn't have been good for travelers, AirTran executives were right in asserting that Milwaukee needs more competition. And their strategy of marketing to travelers from northern Illinois made sense. AirTran has vowed to expand to 20 daily departures out of Mitchell by May. It has 10 now.

Meanwhile, Midwest is cutting costs and seeking to boost revenue. It is outsourcing its commuter service, Midwest Connect, to SkyWest Airlines, for example, and increasing the number of narrower seats on its flights. It will maintain a large number of its signature two-across seats.

Despite the challenges, Midwest remains a classy, comfortable option, and we hope there is still a niche in the airline industry for that. Milwaukee will be well-served if Midwest can continue filling that niche even as other airlines expand service at Mitchell.
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Old Feb 11, 08, 7:52 pm
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Not likely for YX to be bought up by NW with a DL/NW merger.

Although I laugh just thinking how funny it would be for DL to turn MKE into a secondary hub as the 3rd largest airline and just crush AirTran's dreams.
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Old Feb 12, 08, 4:04 am
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Originally Posted by rnovak View Post
Not likely for YX to be bought up by NW with a DL/NW merger.

Although I laugh just thinking how funny it would be for DL to turn MKE into a secondary hub as the 3rd largest airline and just crush AirTran's dreams.
Hasn't worked in Atlanta, why would it work in MKE?
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Old Feb 12, 08, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by rnovak View Post
Not likely for YX to be bought up by NW with a DL/NW merger.

Although I laugh just thinking how funny it would be for DL to turn MKE into a secondary hub as the 3rd largest airline and just crush AirTran's dreams.
AirTran lives in dreamworld. That's why it was never able to buy Midwest.
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Old Feb 12, 08, 12:23 pm
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Originally Posted by YX802 View Post
AirTran lives in dreamworld. That's why it was never able to buy Midwest.
This has nothing to do with what the OP said. He/she speculated about a potential Delta takeover of Midwest through NW and the ability of Delta to crush Air Tran in Milwaukee.

Delta hasn't been able to crush Air Tran in Atlanta, so why would a Delta takeover of Midwest through NW be any different?
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Old Feb 12, 08, 6:16 pm
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Originally Posted by hazelrah View Post
This has nothing to do with what the OP said. He/she speculated about a potential Delta takeover of Midwest through NW and the ability of Delta to crush Air Tran in Milwaukee.

Delta hasn't been able to crush Air Tran in Atlanta, so why would a Delta takeover of Midwest through NW be any different?
AirTran has big dreams. They talk a big game, but don't have the capital to support their talk.
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