Bedford predicts profitability for Midwest in 2Q of 2010

Washington DC
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Midwest Airlines chief executive officer Bryan Bedford expects the carrier to turn a profit during the second quarter of next year once the carrier's restructuring is largely complete.

Republic Airways Holdings completed its acquisition of Midwest from TPG Capital on 30 July, which made Bedford CEO of Milwaukee-based Midwest.

In a recent interview with ATI sister publication Airline Business Bedford explained from an operations standpoint Midwest is currently profitable. But as typical seasonal fluctuations occur he says Republic has advised the market that Midwest is likely to "go back into a loss-making situation" for the autumn and probably January or February. "Although we don't think it is significant loss making," he says. But he assures that Midwest will be "profitable, strongly profitable in the second quarter of next year, and we'll continue to be profitable thereafter".

Now that Republic has won approval to purchase Frontier Airlines once it emerges from Chapter 11 restructuring in the fourth quarter, Republic is likely to accelerate Midwest's fleet and route restructuring by moving some of Frontier's Airbus A319s into some of the longer-haul, high-density, low-yield markets from Milwaukee.

Bedford reasons the A319 is an ideal aircraft for those routes in the high season, while the Embraer E-190 is "exactly the right airplane for the off-peak season".

Midwest is in the process of replacing nine Boeing 717s with 9-10 Embraer E-190s. The carrier also plans to operate 12 37-50-seat ERJs and 12-13 E-170s.

At the time Bedford gave the interview Midwest flights from Milwaukee to Los Angeles had been booking for five weeks, and the route was re-launched on 1 August. "It's the second best market the compay's got so it hasn't taken the community long to welcome reconnecting the network and we'll increase that service to two a day in September when Delta pulls their one flight a day out of the market," Bedford explains.

Midwest discontinued direct Milwaukee-Los Angeles flights in September of last year.