Milwaukee, Wisconsin, May 28, 2003 - At a news conference on the grounds of General Mitchell International Airport, Midwest Airlines (NYSE: MEH) today announced details of the low-fare service it plans to launch in August - part of the airline’s long-term strategic plan to position its operations for the future.
Speaking against a backdrop of a Midwest Airlines MD-80 aircraft, Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief executive officer, told city officials, travel industry representatives and employees that the new low-fare service will complement the premium service now offered by Midwest Airlines and the regional service offered by its Midwest Connect subsidiary.
“Our focus has always been business travelers, and - make no mistake - business travelers will continue to be a vital part of our business going forward,” said Hoeksema. “At the same time, adding low-fare service to high-demand leisure destinations will allow us to provide travelers with a comprehensive portfolio of services - and better position us to be a successful competitor in a very competitive industry.”
He pointed out that extensive customer input was key to designing the low-fare product. “One thing we heard clearly in our research is that customers love our brand and our people, and didn’t want our commitment to service to change. We listened to what our customers said.”
As a result, the low-fare service will not be a separate airline, but one of two types of service offered by Midwest Airlines: Midwest Airlines Saver Service, with low fares to leisure destinations; and Midwest Airlines Signature Service, its traditional service to business destinations.
James P. Rankin, Midwest Airlines senior vice president and general manager of the new service, explained that service will launch with nonstop flights between Milwaukee and five destinations popular with leisure travelers - Denver, beginning August 1; Orlando, August 8; Las Vegas, August 15; Phoenix, August 22; and Los Angeles, September 12. All service on each route will be provided by Midwest Airlines Saver Service.
Price, naturally, is a key feature, according to Rankin, with one-way fares beginning at $92 to Orlando. “Not only are fares low, but there are also more seats available at the lowest fares on each flight, and fewer restrictions,” he said. “These fares don’t require a Saturday-night stay, and can be purchased for one-way travel. There are only a few fare types in each market, making buying a ticket quick and easy.” Tickets for Midwest Airlines Saver Service are available on the airline’s Web site - www.midwestairlines.com - and on Orbitz.
Initially, five MD-80 aircraft from the Midwest Airlines fleet will be allocated to Midwest Airlines Saver Service - each configured with two-by-three seating and holding 143 or 147 passengers. While adding a third seat on one side of the aisle was necessary to keep fares as low as possible, Rankin said seating would nonetheless be a key selling point of Midwest Airlines Saver Service. “In addition to low fares, our customers almost unanimously wanted one thing - legroom. So pitch (the distance between rows) will be 33 inches on Saver Service - considerably more than the 30-inch average of other low-fare carriers, and the most of any low-fare carrier in the market.
“We haven’t skimped on service excellence either,” he added. “Saver Service will be provided by the same cordial and accommodating Midwest Airlines folks - flight crews, airport employees and those working behind the scenes - who have been providing great personal service to passengers for years.”
Like Midwest Airlines Signature Service, the new Saver Service will feature complimentary beverages, packaged snacks and baked-onboard chocolate chip cookies, with buy-onboard meals available for purchase. Additionally, Saver Service passengers will continue to earn and be able to redeem mileage in the Midwest Miles program.
“Our new Midwest Airlines Saver Service presents a terrific opportunity for customers flying to leisure destinations - nonstop service at low fares, with the same legroom and outstanding service as on our traditional Signature service,” concluded Rankin. “We think this is a great addition to our product portfolio, and we’re confident that customers will agree.”
Midwest Airlines features nonstop jet service to major destinations throughout the United States. Skyway Airlines, Inc. - its wholly owned subsidiary - operates Midwest Connect, which offers connections to Midwest Airlines as well as point-to-point service between select markets on regional jet and turboprop aircraft. Together, the airlines offer service to 50 cities.