What routes will Midwest reinstate?

Old Aug 14, 09, 10:45 pm
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What routes will Midwest reinstate?

For fun, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what routes Midwest (Republic) might reinstate and when.

Republic has publicly stated that they plan on restoring the Midwest route structure to where it was in January 2008. However, we don't know if this is exclusively for Milwaukee or if Kansas City will see any increased flight activity as well.

Additionally, Bryan Bedford stated that some Midwest routes need more frequency and/or larger aircraft (hello A319 or Q400???).

Frankly, I would be surprised if every dropped route was brought back. In particular, I think the possibility of COS or CLT returning are remote.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 8:13 am
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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
For fun, I thought it might be interesting to speculate on what routes Midwest (Republic) might reinstate and when.

Republic has publicly stated that they plan on restoring the Midwest route structure to where it was in January 2008. However, we don't know if this is exclusively for Milwaukee or if Kansas City will see any increased flight activity as well.
It appears that demand is there for MKE-SEA n/s, as well as perhaps seasonal demand for MKE-FLL. Blue, I know that you are looking for MKE-SAN; I think that MKE-SFO could also support nonstop service. Realizing that AirTran picked up where YX left off, I can see head-to-head competition to increase, should YX reinstate some of the previous routes. With WN's arrival in MKE in November, this could be become a real horse race, with the customers being the real winners.

Will DL be able to maintain their loyal MKE customer base, if the other carriers step up their schedules?

The increased activity at MKE is going to start to hurt traffic at ORD.

Next year should prove to be quite interesting for all concerned.

Last edited by mke9499; Aug 15, 09 at 8:23 am
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Old Aug 15, 09, 10:34 am
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I'd put all of these city pairs pretty high on the list:

MKE-FLL
MKE-SFO
MKE-SEA
MKE-BDL
MKE-CWA
MKE-RDU

Kansas City is such a wild card. I suspect SAN will return, but will it be from MKE, MCI or both? If MCI is going to see some restoration and growth, then at least a few markets ilke SAT, MSY, AUS, CMH, PIT and JAX are likely to show up.

I agree that Colorado Springs is very unlikely to return, especally since Frontier is now in the family and there is plentiful MCI-DEN nonstop service.

If AirTran eventually drops MKE-STL, or if Republic is willing to lose money in the market with RJ's in an effort to make AirTran blink, then MKE-STL could well be back. But not before one or the other of those events.

I don't look for Baltimore, Charlotte, Toronto, or Dulles to return anytime in the near future -- perhaps never, but only after Midwest's condition and the economy improve significantly. With both AirTran and Southwest selling MKE-BWI this fall, it's clearly noplace for Midwest in the near term. But if/when they reach a point where they can afford to add a route they know will probably break even at best, it could have benefits by making it less easy for both competitors in Milwaukee. Midwest's costs will very likely rival both FL and WN's by that point. And with a wider variety in aircraft size, Midwest will be better to match varying demand through the year.

Obviously all this is speculation, and the idea of Midwest entering MKE-BWI versus FL and WN anytime soon is highly unlikely. But we know that some growth/restoration is coming, and the markets mentioned earlier in the post seem pretty likely.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 10:45 am
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I think Wausau/Mosinee will be added soon, probably this fall. In early 2010 all the previous West Coast cities will be added back from MKE. MKE - SAN maybe added as new in 2010 too. I also wonder if YX will try MKE - SLC since DL dropped that route again. I also wonder about RDU. Will that route return?
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Old Aug 15, 09, 11:05 am
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Originally Posted by knope2001 View Post
I'd put all of these city pairs pretty high on the list:

MKE-FLL
MKE-SFO
MKE-SEA
MKE-BDL
MKE-CWA
MKE-RDU

Kansas City is such a wild card. I suspect SAN will return, but will it be from MKE, MCI or both? If MCI is going to see some restoration and growth, then at least a few markets ilke SAT, MSY, AUS, CMH, PIT and JAX are likely to show up.
I agree with your list above.

It wouldn't surprise me at all to see FLL restored later this year or early 2010 with additional frequency to other warm weather destinations as well. Perhaps we might even see RSW go year round with an E170 in the off-season?

Both BDL and RDU will both benefit a great deal from DEN feed. Neither of these destinations is currently served non-stop from DEN at the moment.

As it relates to SEA and SFO, I'm wondering if Midwest will run these routes year round or will they be served seasonally as in the past? Depending on how quickly larger aircraft arrive in MKE, I wouldn't be shocked to see these routes restored this winter if for no other reason than to take a slap at AirTran and make their efforts to build a viable year-round hub in MKE difficult.

Frankly, I'm still surprised SAN got axed last fall. The yields to SAN were higher than SEA, SFO, and LAX yet it got yanked. I'm wondering if this had more to due with lack of lift than anything else?

Republic has said not to look for any surprises as far as new routes go. However, within the next couple of years (assuming Midwest still exists of course) I wonder if we might see SNA return from MCI? I believe that is one of the largest unserved markets from MCI at the momemnt. When Midwest dropped it to 1x daily in the fall of 2004, the route actually did pretty good load wise. If it weren't for the requirement that Midwest having to restore that 2nd frequency by May 2005 would this route still exist? With Frontier already established in SNA, this might be a real possibility.

There might also be some interesting opportunities at San Jose, Birmingham, and Miami as well.

Lots of pieces to this puzzle are still missing of course. Republic does seem very serious about regaining lost ground in MKE. I wonder how aggressive they will be and what their tolerance for losses will be over the next year or so at they battle both AirTran and Southwest.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 1:23 pm
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Originally Posted by BlueHorseShoe2000 View Post
Frankly, I'm still surprised SAN got axed last fall. The yields to SAN were higher than SEA, SFO, and LAX yet it got yanked. I'm wondering if this had more to due with lack of lift than anything else?
I think there's a lot to be said for the ideal that last fall's cuts were not uniquely about specific market peformance.

The number of aircraft they had to work with was a result of (a) the drastic decision to park the M80s, (b) negotiations with Boeing to return some 717's (c) negotiations with Republic to gain some E170's, and (d) negotiations with Skywest to reduce the CRJ fleet.

What they ended up with was not necessarily the "right" number of aircraft at the time, nor the right distribution of aircraft. But it's what they had to work with.

Then, working with what they had, they had to figure out how to stretch those aircraft to cover as much of the route system with at least the minimal number of flights necessary to serve the market and be competitive . Because longer flights burn the most aircraft time, those tended to be cut more sharply. So places like San Diego and Hartford in particular could easily have good profit potential but simply been too costly in resource consumption.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 5:23 pm
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Ponder this.

US Airways is actively shopping their 25 plane E-190 fleet.

US has a relationship with Republic

Republic flew either E-170' or 190's for Frontier.

Scenario: US sells E-190's to Midwest/Republic which effectively replaces the 717's and all the sudden you have a growing expanding airline with a good cost structure. Republic augments the E-190's with their existing E-170's and "code share" with Frontier and you have a rebirth at Midwest and a formidable competitor for the legacy & LCC carriers.
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Old Aug 15, 09, 6:59 pm
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I guess that I am still confused as to what Midwest's fleet is, E-Jets or AirBus? Why have a fleet of rjs, ejets and A319 and A320s? I don't get it.
Most non legacy carriers don't dly that many different types of Aircraft. Alaska and Southwest fly the 737. Jetblue flies the A320 and E190. Airtran flies the 717 and 737. For an airline as small as Midwest is that is a vary varied fleet
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Old Aug 17, 09, 8:37 am
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Originally Posted by PineyBob View Post
Ponder this.

US Airways is actively shopping their 25 plane E-190 fleet.

US has a relationship with Republic

Republic flew either E-170' or 190's for Frontier.

Scenario: US sells E-190's to Midwest/Republic which effectively replaces the 717's and all the sudden you have a growing expanding airline with a good cost structure. Republic augments the E-190's with their existing E-170's and "code share" with Frontier and you have a rebirth at Midwest and a formidable competitor for the legacy & LCC carriers.
I heard rumors that Republic wants about 40 E190's. Some would be used and others would be fresh off the production line from Embraer. It would not be out of the question that Republic would pickup the USAir E190's. I doubt all 40 would be YX painted aircraft. Some would probably end up in the Frontier Fleet. JetBlue has the same type of setup... a mix of E190's and Airbus. It makes me wonder if JetBlue will be part of the future mix here. Together, a JetBlue/Frontier/Midwest consolidation would make for a stronger airline. Just my 2 cents.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 8:47 am
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Originally Posted by Tim34 View Post
I guess that I am still confused as to what Midwest's fleet is, E-Jets or AirBus? Why have a fleet of rjs, ejets and A319 and A320s? I don't get it.
Most non legacy carriers don't dly that many different types of Aircraft. Alaska and Southwest fly the 737. Jetblue flies the A320 and E190. Airtran flies the 717 and 737. For an airline as small as Midwest is that is a vary varied fleet
At the moment, Midwest is not a LCC. However, their cost structure will be greatly improved once the restructuring is finalized and more efficient aircraft are in service.

Having the regional jets plus a mix of E190s and Airbus jets will give Midwest an enormous amount of flexability from a route planning persceptive and will improve the financial performance of many routes going forward. There will be no need to send 717s with all premium seating to places like FLL or MCO in the off-peak months and lose buckets of money.

As for the addition of Airbus jets (essentially confirmed by Bryan Bedford this past weekend) there are a number of routes where the demand exists for an aircraft with more than 99 seats. You've seen the T100 stats knope has posted showing how full many of the 717 routes have been. Midwest was no doubt turning away passengers so the need for more capacity is definately there.

Plus, the Airbus jets will allow Midwest to potentially undertake some other opportunities, such as flights to Mexico or the Caribbean
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Old Aug 17, 09, 9:37 am
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Here are my best guesses:

From MKE: RDU, SAT, SEA, SFO, FLL, CWA

From MCI: SAN, DEN, PIT, CMH
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Old Aug 17, 09, 9:54 am
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I wonder if Republic would want to try MKE - DLH once again? If they build up MKE with better connections to more destinations, DLH might be worth another try. With their lower cost structure they maybe able to better compete with NWA. I know it sounds far fetched, but places like DLH are hungry for competition and an alternative to NWA. Hazelrah has stressed this a lot on these captive markets that NWA will defend to no end. But someone should try to chip away at these markets. An E135 on the route would do just fine to start with.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 11:31 am
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I never included my guesses, but I agree with knope that BDL, RDU, and FLL are the most likely additions from MKE this year (either announced or actual resumption prior to year-end). CWA should also be included since Midwest was hiring for a station manager recently.

SFO and SEA will also return, but I'm unsure as to the timing.

SAN will also likely be reinstated, but from where?

If MCI is included in the expansion plans, I'd say MCO, PIT, RDU, AUS, and SAT are pretty safe bets. Others have mentioned CMH, but I'm not so sure about that one. The route never really performed all that well, even if you discount the SkyBus factor.

Bryan Bedford has stated that they want to return the Midwest route network back to where it was in January 2008. If that's the case, that would exclude routes such as MKE-DLH and OMA-LAX. As it relates to DLH, that route was a loser and I don't think it's very high on Midwest's list for reinstatement. The loyalty to Northwest/Delta is just too strong (Midwest offered lower fares than NWA on many routes and still wasn't able to get much traction in the market).

I think there will be a lot to discuss on this board within the next 3-6 months
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Old Aug 17, 09, 12:12 pm
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Originally Posted by flyYX View Post
I wonder if Republic would want to try MKE - DLH once again? If they build up MKE with better connections to more destinations, DLH might be worth another try. With their lower cost structure they maybe able to better compete with NWA. I know it sounds far fetched, but places like DLH are hungry for competition and an alternative to NWA. Hazelrah has stressed this a lot on these captive markets that NWA will defend to no end. But someone should try to chip away at these markets. An E135 on the route would do just fine to start with.
That thought entered my mind when I was compiling my list of guesses. DLH was last served with the now-gone Fairchild 328 jet, which seated 32 passengers I believe. So, I agree that the smallest Midwest plane would have to be used on the route...and the CASM for a Republic E135 would certainly be lower than the FRJ was, but it's probably still a long shot.
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Old Aug 17, 09, 1:36 pm
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Does anyone think Midwest will get back into the charter business?
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