Will America’s Midwest Express Relaunch?

Freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies and the best care in domestic U.S. travel. That was what Midwest Express Airlines was best-known and loved for. But despite the airline being out of action for some years now, it says it’s making a comeback (with baked goods in tow). But what we’re eager to know is, when?

Midwest Express will be making a comeback but when? Photo: Aero Icarus via Wikimedia Commons

An imminent return without a date

Until this week, August was the last time we had officially heard about Midwest Express’ plans to relaunch. At that time, the airline said that it had unveiled new aircraft and released three destinations it would launch in first. Those destinations were Grand Rapids in Michigan, Ohama in the state of Nebraska and Cincinnati in Ohio.

When these plans were released, in a company statement the President of Midwest Express called it a “monumental day in our efforts to return Midwest Express to the air.” We’ve heard a lot about Midwest Express’ return to the air, but when will it happen?

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Midwest Express is very close to launching but no dates have been announced. Photo: RuthAS via Wikimedia Commons

This week, on Friday 15th November, President Greg Aretakis presented a talk at an Independent Business Association of Wisconsin event. According to CBS58, he said:

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“Midwest Express should start selling tickets really soon.”

According to Aretakis, commercial infrastructure is nearly complete. The key question we need to ask is not will the airline launch; indeed most of the building blocks for the inauguration seem to be in place. The question is more, when will it launch?

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With infrastructure almost complete, routes planned and aircraft identified, the airline could be weeks away from operating. But if it’s going to happen this year, as promised, then there are only 46 days left for it to do so.

What can we expect from the new airline?

Well, one of the reasons that might be hindering the speedy relaunch of Midwest Express is its route network. The airline is looking to branch out. It’s announced the first three destinations it intends to fly to but CBS58 suggests there will be more to look forward to. Aside from routes, what else should we be expecting?

Chocolate chip cookies will be staying, that’s for certain. The airline will continue to bake these on its flights however, there will be changes. The airline had previously used a multitude of aircraft to develop its offering. But some of those aircraft led it into trouble in terms of efficiency and customer service. It’s done away with the Boeing 717 and McDonnell Douglas DC-9 and will now use aircraft from Elite Airways. That’s Bombardier CRJ 200 and 700 jets.

Elite Airways will help Midwest Express source its aircraft. Photo: Elite Airways via Twitter

But the airline will continue to cater primarily to the needs of business travelers. Whilst Aretakis has said there is continual interest in the relaunch of Midwest Express for the business market, the Milwaukee County Executive, Chris Abele, also said:

“Providing non-stop flights to key business destinations fills an important niche…”

The interest is definitely out there and the anticipation is increasing.

What is Midwest Express?

Midwest Express Airlines was founded back in 1983 and commenced operations in ’84. At the time it was headquartered in Oak Creek, Wisconsin and flew to cities including Boston, Dallas Fort Worth, and Newark, New Jersey. It continued to expand its network and in 2001 changed its name to Midwest to avoid synonymity with being a regional carrier.

However, in 2005, it became public knowledge that its holding company had put Midwest for sale. After a failed bid, a private equity firm teamed up with Northwest Airlines and acquired the airline. However, in 2009 the airline was turned over into the hands of Republic Airways Holding (RAH). It was RAH that merged Frontier Airlines and Midwest together and in 2010, Midwest ceased selling tickets.

But in August 2017, reports surfaced that Midwest Express was looking for investors to relaunch the antiquated brand. Two years later, in August this year, Elite Airways revealed it had signed an operating agreement to provide aircraft to the carrier, which brings us to the imminent launch of Midwest Express.

When do you think Midwest Express will launch? Will you be flying with them? Let us know in the comments.

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Chuck

I fail to see the great advantage in the revival of Midwest Express. Especially when they will use CRJ equipment which I have found to be very cramped and uncomfortable. Business travels will expect more. However, if they picked up some used ERJ 170 or 175 jets, I feel they could build a decent customer base, especially if they focus on “Customer Service” which is lacking on most other airlines. I’m not holding my breath on this second iteration.

Tricia

This is nothing but a virtual airline. They do not even have any aircraft of their own. Chocolate chip cookies? Several airlines have and already offer such an amenity. Good luck to them!

Oreo

Omaha not Ohama

Joe

Another soon to be failed airline, if they are planning to use those aircraft they are doomed

stogieguy7

Agree with other posters here, using a CRJ is a tough sell and a drawback that the original Midwest Express did not suffer with their MD-80s aircraft. There’s no way that you can have an “affordable luxury” experience on a CRJ. It’s just too cramped and the ride is often rough. Oh, and if there’s bad weather, smaller RJ’s like this are to first to be cancelled.

Nice try, but no sale.

Jim

Too bad they don’t plan to use A220s. They more directly match the size and range of their previous aircraft, and would yield a better customer experience, while still being suited to somewhat smaller destinations.