Airtran has been holding their own against SWA in BWI as Airtran will be up to 60 departures a day this summer in BWI. Airtran will doing over 30 departures a day this summer in MKE and plans on going up to 50 departures a day by next summer. Either SWA sees an opportunity due to Midwest's downsizing or wants to try to limit Airtran's growth in the MKE/North Chicago area. Either way, the MKE area locals should see some good fares as two strong LCCs battle it out just like BWI.
It is a LONG way from MKE to MDW, ESPECIALLY during rush hour.
We live in GRB, and it's 2 hours, almost all the time, to drive to MKE. ORD is under 3 hours with no traffic, and 3 1/2 with traffic. Once or twice, we flew out of MDW, and it is a NIGHTMARE. It is a MUCH longer drive to get to MDW, from anywhere up north.
My CEO has been hoping for YEARS that someone like SWA or AirTran will fly a lot into MKE. She was hoping that Midwest would merge with AirTran, but that fell through. This is the first real chance that many people who live in WI and MI will have their first chance to fly on a LCC to many parts of the US.
I hope AirTran and SWA both do well in MKE. I am also very sorry what is happening to Midwest. I think it is a crime that the gov't let NWA/DAL buy and control them. Legally, it was not a merger or NWA buying them, but, in reality, DAL now owns Midwest and is dismantling them. It sux.
Just having a bit of fun...here's my post from December 20, 2006 in a thread discussing SWA's next cities (I think it was)...
Other than LA, might be worst 50 miles in the US...
Why wouldn't SWA come to MKE?
Even with Midwest's main ops there, MKE is still way underutilized, and it's a lot easier to get there from most anywhere in the Chicago area north of PWK east to Lake Michigan and west to I-90 than it is to MDW.
Let's go to the tape. Say you live in Waukegan, IL, or its environs - a fast-growing, generally wealthy area which likely generates plenty of customers for airlines
According the Mapquest, it's 50 miles to MDW from Waukegan, so you figure what? an hour or less? Not so fast my friend! Ever tried to actually drive that corridor, either through downtown Chicago and then out to MDW, or around on I-294? Most days, it's a total nightmare, even with the advent of open-road tolling. Easily a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from your front door to parking your car - so if you want to make sure you get to your gate on time, leave at least 3 hours before your flight. For ORD, give yourself at least 2 hours.
According to Mapquest it's 45 miles to MKE from Waukegan, all on 6 lane expressways with no tolls and nary a traffic jam. At 75 mph or more (common speeds on that portion of I-94), you can drive to MKE, park in the giant ramp directly connected to the terminal (currently charging $10/day with plenty of room to expand, by the way), go through security and be at your gate within 1.5 hours, no sweat.
I think a reasonable case can be made for SWA here because they could continue their huge presence at MDW, but also pick off customers on the north side of Chicago. Sort of "stealth-competing" with the legacy carriers at ORD for domestic routes while avoiding a direct fare war - something every carrier, including SWA would like to avoid. A northern front, if you will, in SWA's war on the legacies in a top three market. At the same time, Midwest would probably fold like a wet noodle on any directly competing routes from MKE.
If Southwest isn't growing where are they getting all the extra capacity for MKE, MSP as well as building up some of their newer cities from the last few years? I'm not sure that MKE is big enough for two LCC's, there's only a few destinations from MKE able to support more than one carrier. With both SWA and AirTran MKE will be stealing some passengers from ORD and MDW so that may increase MKE traffic numbers as Chicago folks drive North for cheap fares. As these LCC's compete head-to-head more frequently it's going to get harder for anyone to have any kind of decent profit margin unless somebody gets knocked out of the game.
I wonder if TPG/NWA still think it was a good idea to buy Midwest. NWA was trying to fend of AirTran and now they will have AirTran and SWA to deal with in MKE and MSP and they have shrunk Midwest down to nothing. I don't get it.
Dont know what you really mean!!!
this could be the final dager for Midwest!!!and its employes...crap I'm so sorry.
uke: but then again the whole industry (Mainline, LCC, Regionals) love Cannibalism!!!!