The airline recognized as
“The best care in the air” turns 20 Friday and to celebrate,
Milwaukee-based Midwest Airlines has planned a variety of events for
passengers, employees and its charitable partners. Additionally, the
airline is using the occasion to launch a new marketing campaign that
features its commitment to customer care. The airline took to the skies on June 11, 1984 with 83 employees and two
DC-9 aircraft flying to four cities: Milwaukee, Appleton, Boston and
Dallas/Ft. Worth. Today, Midwest Airlines and its regional carrier Midwest
Connect employ 3,000 people and operate 49 aircraft flying to 50 cities.
Destinations range from popular vacation spots such as Orlando, Las Vegas
and Phoenix to mainstay business locations including New York,
Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Midwest Airlines’ fleet now includes 14 new Boeing 717 jets; the airline
will accept delivery of a 15th 717 on Monday. All of the 717s are used for
the airline’s Signature Service and continue the airline’s legacy of
customizing aircraft interiors to a roomier two-by-two configuration. The
practice began when the airline started with its original DC-9s, all of
which have since been phased out of operation.
Midwest Airlines traces its roots back to 1948 when its former parent
company, Kimberly-Clark of Appleton, Wis., purchased a Twin Beech aircraft
to transport sales executives and engineers to remote mill locations.
Kimberly-Clark gained additional experience in passenger flights with the
operation of a DC-9 corporate shuttle beginning in 1982. The popularity of
that shuttle lead to the formation of a scheduled service passenger
airline two years later. And 11 years after that—in 1995—the airline
became an independent publicly traded corporation.
Through the years Midwest Airlines has continued to expand and grow. In
its first year of operation, the airline flew 24,352 passengers; it is
estimated 2.7 million will travel on Midwest Airlines and Midwest Connect
in 2004. In 1986 the airline introduced its famous baked-onboard chocolate
chip cookies. Today, 4.5 million chocolate chip cookies are served to
passengers annually. Also in 1986, the airline began its Frequent Flyer
program, signing up 24,576 members the first year. Now called Midwest
Miles, the program has more than 1.68 million members.
“A 20th anniversary is an important event for any business. But
considering the economic and world events of the past few years, it is a
particularly important milestone for an airline,” said Timothy E.
Hoeksema, chairman and chief executive officer. “During the past 20 years,
Midwest Airlines has experienced its share of both extraordinary and
challenging times. And now we look to our next 20 years with a renewed
sense of optimism.”
Hoeksema noted that the airline is poised for the future with a
state-of-the-art fleet; a well-defined product offering that includes its
traditional Signature Service, new Saver Service providing nonstop,
low-fare flights to leisure destinations, and regional Midwest Connect
service; a recommitment to customer service; and an enhanced schedule with
more nonstops and connections to better serve the flying public.
He also said that Travel+Leisure magazine’s recent announcement that it
had named Midwest Airlines “Top Domestic Airline for Service” for 2004 was
a fitting launch to the airline’s 20th anniversary celebrations. “The
Travel+Leisure award is especially significant because it recognizes our
employees for the high quality, renowned level of customer service they
provide.” The award is the 37th time Midwest Airlines has been named “Best
Airline” by industry organizations since 1990.
Among the anniversary events planned by Midwest Airlines:
Passengers. On the morning of Friday, June 11, Hoeksema and other company
executives will greet passengers and hand out chocolate chip cookies on
the Milwaukee airport’s D Concourse. Throughout the afternoon and early
evening, passengers on all Milwaukee outbound flights will be offered
“Cookies and Kopp’s” treats, featuring Kopp’s frozen custard sandwiched
between the airline’s chocolate chip cookies.
Additionally, a special anniversary-related promotion offers a $20
discount on 20 specific routes for travelers flying during June. Details
are available at http://www.midwestairlines.com/ .
Employees. A month-long celebration of company events will culminate on
Saturday, June 12, when more than a thousand Midwest Airlines employees
and their families will attend a 20th anniversary picnic at the Milwaukee
Charitable Partners. During its 20th anniversary, Midwest Airlines is
giving special recognition to two of its charitable partners—the
Make-a-Wish Foundation of Wisconsin and Habitat for Humanity—because
both are also noting 20 years in Milwaukee.
Each year the airline helps approximately 40 Make-A-Wish families realize
a “wish” by providing air travel. This year, Midwest Airlines is giving
the foundation an additional 500,000 miles, or 20 roundtrip tickets, that
it may use to support wish-giving efforts, for staff travel or to boost
fund-raising work. The foundation is expressing its appreciation by
sending volunteers to help staff the airline’s employee picnic.
Habitat for Humanity will be the recipient of a $10,000 donation from a
Midwest Airlines’ business partner. The anonymous donation is being made
in the name of Midwest Airlines in honor of its 20th anniversary.
Marketing Campaign. Midwest Airlines’ 20th anniversary marks the beginning
of a new marketing campaign that will continue through 2004. The campaign
will feature television, radio, print and outdoor advertising, along with
direct marketing and public relations events. Reflecting the airline’s
dedication to customer service and its optimism for the future, the
campaign will carry the theme “It’s What Care Means.” The spots tie in to
Midwest Airlines’ tagline “The best care in the air” and will more
specifically define what care means to travelers.
The airline is also sponsoring a “20-Day Flyaway” contest in conjunction
with 620 WTMJ radio. During the next 20 days, names will be randomly drawn
from the station’s Preferred Listener Club list and be eligible to win
airfare for two to anywhere Midwest Airlines flies. Listeners will also be
asked to enter an essay with their “Best Midwest Airlines’ Experience.”
The best essay will win the grand prize—airfare for two on Midwest
Airlines for an entire year. Details of the contest can be found at
Midwest Airlines features jet service throughout the United States,
including Milwaukee’s most daily nonstop flights and best schedule to
major destinations. Skyway Airlines, Inc.—its wholly owned subsidiary
—operates as 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. More information is available at