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Midwest unveils first E-190 market

Midwest Airlines plans to resume flights operated with 94-seat Embraer E-190s from Milwaukee to Los Angeles on 1 August.

The carrier exited the market last year, transitioning its direct Milwaukee-Los Angeles flights to a one-stop routing through Kansas City.

Embraer 190s are joining Midwest's fleet through an agreement the carrier reached with partner Republic Airways Holdings to operate two extended range aircraft. The planned configuration for the aircraft is 10 extra wide leather Midwest "Signature" seats and 84 leather seats. A second aircraft is due to start service in September.

As a follow-on to the E-190 deal Republic subsequently loaned Midwest an additional $6 million and agreed to fly 12 37-50-seat jets for its partner. Republic plans to start two-daily flights from Milwaukee to Louisville, Kentucky on 2 August using 37-seat ERJ-135 aircraft, and operate a fourth daily Midwest flight using the same aircraft type from Milwaukee to Indianapolis on 7 July. The flights to Louisville are also as resumption of service in that market by Midwest.

Midwest faces familiar competition on direct Milwaukee-Los Angeles flights from AirTran and Northwest Airlines. Schedules in Innovata show no carrier currently serves the Milwaukee-Louisville market.

Republic's smaller jets come online at Midwest as 12 CRJ200s flown by SkyWest on behalf of Midwest start exiting the carrier's network this month, and continue cycling out through January 2010.

SkyWest has said it would work to place the aircraft at other major carriers, and today during the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch transportation conference company Chairman Jerry Atkin offered the "worst case scenario" of the aircraft leases expiring next year.

Republic continues to deepen its ties with Midwest through both loans and aircraft placement. In late 2008 Republic began operating the first of 12 E0170s for Midwest, and to date has loaned its partner a total of $31 million.

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