Midwest Airlines has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to about six regional airlines for the operation of up to 25 50-seat regional jets, and the Wisconsin-based regional carrier will decide by the third quarter if it will proceed with the strategy, writes Mary Kirby in Philadelphia.

Senior vice-president of corporate affairs Carol Skornicka says the RFP is primarily “an exploration” to understand the cost structure of contracting a regional feeder to provide 50-seat services.

The carrier believes it can add 50-seat regional jets for nearly the same cost as the 32-seat Dornier 328Jets flown by its subsidiary and only regional affiliate, Skyway Airlines, which operates under the Midwest Connect banner.

Should Midwest opt to contract for 50-seat flying, the affiliate “would be a second feeder for Midwest”, says Skornicka. She adds that the RFP does not stipulate any preferences on the manufacturer or age of the aircraft.

However, the document has been sent only to those regional operators that currently have “the range of capacity” to supply the feed “as opposed to those that might develop” such an operation, according to Skornicka.

A likely contender is ExpressJet, which is currently trying to find homes for 25 Embraer ERJ-145LRs and 44 ERJ-145XRs being released from its capacity purchase agreement with Continental Airlines.

Source: Flight International