Midwest: We're Happy AirTran Didn't Purchase Us, Too

Eagle757shark

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Midwest: We're Happy AirTran Didn't Purchase Us, Too

By Jay Sorgi


Story Created: Mar 10, 2009
Story Updated: Mar 10, 2009

At an investors conference, AirTran Airways CEO Robert Fornaro took a look back at the long but failed attempt by his company to buy Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines.
"We're very glad we were unsuccessful with that purchase," Fornaro said at the conference. "The opportunity to expand in Milwaukee will be a very good one for us. We didn't have to buy that company. The opportunity is out there because of the poor economy."
Midwest spokesman Mike Brophy responded on 620WTMJ's "Wisconsin's Morning News" with a similar main point, but for a totally different reason.

"This is the only piece of trash talking I'll do: the feeling's mutual," said Brophy. "We are still the hometown airline. We are proud to be the hometown airline. We're staying close to our customer. We're giving them what they want, more non-stop flights out of Milwaukee than anybody else."
Fornaro also joined "Wisconsin's Morning News" and explained his comments, illustrating points of how its fleet of planes, and it's workforce, has shrunk dramatically.
"When we went back about 18 months ago, we were under the impression that Midwest was a stronger company than it turned out to be," said Fornaro.
"Faced with the run-up on oil prices and, now, a deep recession, I think we would have found AirTran in a deep hole had that transaction gone through.
"Midwest has become a patchwork of commuter airlines. It's not the same company that we looked at. It is substantially smaller. They've shrunk by 40%. Their network is nowhere near as strong.
"When we were looking at Midwest, it was operating about 35 or 36 large airplanes. Today, it's only 9."
Fornaro on Midwest Survival: "If Oil Prices Remain Low..."
Fornaro even gives a caveat for Midwest even surviving these tough economic times, mainly because, in his mind, the type of service they offer can't work under current conditions.
"If oil prices remain low, I think they'll survive," said Fornaro. "They are a much different company than they have been in the past.
"With all the conversation about premium service, you can't really offer premium service on the types of airplanes they're flying today."
According to Brophy, Midwest isn't exactly alone in facing the problems of running an airline in the current economy - especially the recent high oil prices.
"That's just one factor that's going to affect all airlines. All airlines have had their difficulties in terms of the spike in fuel prices.
"When it comes to the recession, obviously, airlines aren't immune to that."
"We took the dramatic action that everybody was familiar with. We did them all at one time, and now I think we're better positioned than a lot of airlines who will have to continue to cut back employees throughout this year.
"We've gone just about as far as we can go to position ourselves for some growth once we get out of this recession."
"We're still here. We're offering a quality product, and that's what counts."
AirTran Claims It Has Higher Quality with Lower Prices
Fornaro, though, believes his airline has higher quality without sacrificing in the customers' pocketbooks.
"We have become the lowest cost producer in the industry, and that's been a goal that we've had for a number of years," said Fornaro.
"At the same time, our quality has risen. Last year, we were the winners of the Air Quality Award (measuring airlines based on five operating characteristics: on-time flights, lost baggage, overbooking, completion factor and complaints). When you put all those factors together, AirTran had the best ratings.
"We were number one in quality, and number one in lowest cost. That's a tough combination to beat."
AirTran's CEO also attempted to tout that it was backing up what it said it would do during the contentious attempt to purchase Midwest.
"We've made a number of claims, and quite frankly, the things that we said held up. We've grown our business. This summer, we're going to have a 50% increase in our capacity. We've brought great fares, and we've done the things that we said we would do.
"At the same time, a lot of the publicity that came 18 months ago is actually serving us well. The customers have heard of us, and quite frankly, they are pleasantly surprised by the service quality that they offer."
Brophy gives congratulations to his airline's competitor, but makes a point about Midwest's long-time standard-bearing service.
"They do it with a lot of fanfare, and good for them," said Brophy.
"I think the profile of our airline, perhaps, is a little more modest, but I think the important thing is 'Do customers appreciate what we're offering?' Even the surveys we do say that our customers prefer our airline vastly over the other competitors here in Milwaukee."
Instead, Brophy thinks AirTran is simply offering sound and fury signifying, in his mind, very little.
"I think that they're really raising their profile. In terms of their service, it's not much more than they offered last year.
In the meantime, Brophy says Midwest isn't exactly a slouch in the price point battle.
"We're price competitive, and competitive in our fares with AirTran and other carriers in Milwaukee. That's why I think we're doing pretty well right now and seeing some pretty strong advanced bookings for March and April. It's not as if they're undercutting us at every corner."
 

Colonel Savage

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"Midwest has become a patchwork of commuter airlines. It's not the same company that we looked at."

Could this be an indicment against outsourcing mainline flying to regionals? If so, it would certianly make it difficult for AAI management to make the outsourcing argument to its own pilot group and seek SCOPE relief.
 
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deadstick

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"We are still the hometown airline" in Indy and St. George.

"We're staying close to our customer" in the Cookie Palace while 60% of our customers fly on outsourced aircraft.

"We're giving them what they want, more non-stop flights out of Milwaukee than anybody else," we just don't tell them they aren't really on Midwest airplanes.

Michael Brophy -- Timmy's turd with lips.
 

GOULET!

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Michael Brophy is the biggest ****************************** bag in MKE. Id love to run into that guy in the parking lot sometime.
 

SFR

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I thought Midwest shut down already....
 

Lear70

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"Midwest has become a patchwork of commuter airlines. It's not the same company that we looked at."

Could this be an indicment against outsourcing mainline flying to regionals? If so, it would certianly make it difficult for AAI management to make the outsourcing argument to its own pilot group and seek SCOPE relief.
I picked up on that little nugget as well...

Going to be an interesting summer.
 

Ty Webb

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I miss ol' Baghdad Carol . . . this guy's got a ways to go.

Midwest guys, sorry things have gotten so bad over there. Hope the furloughed guys are finding work.We Tranny guys wish you the best.
 
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Horrido

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Well Baghdad Brophy still lives in his fantasy world I see. Midwest is now a joke...I don't know how this guy says these things with a straight face. Most of us couldn't believe the bidding got as high as it did frankly. It was great for many of us who cashed out our stock options near the peak...but we knew YX was worth no more than $10 per share at best. Airtran was lucky that it's bid fell short. They will have Milwaukee anyway...its a blue collar town that will be a better fit for a LCC.

I was always impressed with how nice AirTran guys were when I rode on their a/c to and from work despite all the trash talk Midwest Management was slinging at the time...thanks guys...you're a good bunch.

Some of us have found jobs though its a tough job market out there. Only a few options..very few and most are about a 100K pay cut to start for me. What's really disgusting to me is some of the self promoting, arrogant types here slamming people going to work at places they don't deem suitable...like anyone has a choice at this point if they want to keep flying. I did pass on regionals...I'll find a new profession before I go back to those pay rates. That's a personal choice...I was lucky...put away plenty of money for a rainy day. The bottom line...if you think your job sucks...just try being laid off in this economy...your employment choices of any kind will be very limited for a long time and many don't have a military income to fall back on. I wish everyone on the street the best of luck...this is not just a downturn...its a devastating global recession at best...do what you must to feed your family and ignore the "my airline's better than yours" dribble here...its just noise. :)
 
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flying zephyr

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He should change his name to Micheal BARFY, because every time he opens his mouth it makes me want to throw up. SAD, SAD, SAD. Still looking for employment five months later.
 

Wesb737fo

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"Midwest has become a patchwork of commuter airlines. It's not the same company that we looked at."

Could this be an indicment against outsourcing mainline flying to regionals? If so, it would certianly make it difficult for AAI management to make the outsourcing argument to its own pilot group and seek SCOPE relief.
Oh you are dam! right it is. ANYTHING over 50 seats better be flown by AT guys or I won't vote for it.
 

CitationLover

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CitationLover

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Every negotiating committee chairmen should bookmark this page and follow it's advice 100%...

http://apanegotiations.com/Scope/tabid/102/Default.aspx

All flying performed by or on behalf of the Company or an Affiliate shall be performed by pilots on the <insert airline name> Seniority List in accordance with the terms and conditions of this agreement.
This should also be followed by a push to integrate every airline and it's regional partners seniority lists.
 

Wesb737fo

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Every negotiating committee chairmen should bookmark this page and follow it's advice 100%...

http://apanegotiations.com/Scope/tabid/102/Default.aspx



This should also be followed by a push to integrate every airline and it's regional partners seniority lists.
Sure! Why not? but I guess because that cat jumped out of the bag about 10 years ago. The only thing we can do now is negotiate the best scope we can, hoping the Airline doesn't find a way around it.
 

Donsa320

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Sure! Why not? but I guess because that cat jumped out of the bag about 10 years ago. The only thing we can do now is negotiate the best scope we can, hoping the Airline doesn't find a way around it.
10 yeras ago? Try closer to 30 years ago. That genie is so far out of the bottle, the bottle is lost.

Want blame? Try APA and AA and the "B" scale, that was the origin.

DC
 

relief tube

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Airtrans a bunch of vultures with their expansion.....MDW and IND after ATA, now MKE after midwest shrinks. What's next- memphis and cincy?
 

Lear70

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Airtrans a bunch of vultures with their expansion.....MDW and IND after ATA, now MKE after midwest shrinks. What's next- memphis and cincy?
Hmmm... "relief tube"...

Does that mean that all you spit out is crap?

Just wondering... :cool:
 

CitationLover

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10 yeras ago? Try closer to 30 years ago. That genie is so far out of the bottle, the bottle is lost.

Want blame? Try APA and AA and the "B" scale, that was the origin.

DC
You can blame WHOEVER you want, but what are you DOING about it? You only control the present and the future.
 

Donsa320

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You can blame WHOEVER you want, but what are you DOING about it? You only control the present and the future.

Well, I'm retired so I can do nothing. However in the day this is what we did do. When we (North Central Airlines) merged with Southern Airways we found that they (Southern) had a 13 airplane Pt135 operation going. Those Metro pilots were on the bottom of the Southern list. We integrated them by DOH into the combined list, no bickering. Any of those people still left will be on an A-330 or better as Captain right now. That is what we did.

What did you people do for Skyway?
 
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