Chicago Midway Airport
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- 1988m x 46m
1965m x 46m
1679m x 46m
1567m x 46m
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Operated by Chicago Airport System, Chicago Midway International Airport is the second largest airport serving Chicago after Chicago O’Hare. The airport host primarily domestic and regional passenger and cargo services for airlines including Southwest Airlines and Delta.
Location of Chicago Midway Airport, United States
Ground Handlers servicing Chicago Midway Airport
265 total articles
37 total articles
As Indigo Partners moves closer to finalising its acquisition of Frontier Airlines and heightens the efforts underway to transition the airline into a true ultra low-cost carrier similar to Spirit Airlines, certain nuances to Frontier’s strategy should prove interesting for Indigo to navigate as it works to place Frontier squarely in the US’s growing ultra low-cost business model. Overall, the ultra low-cost business scheme has so far proven fruitful for Spirit in terms of the carrier’s financial performance; but passengers still bristle about being nickel and dimed even though they are paying base fares lower than most other airlines (even so-called low-fare airlines) by a significant margin.
Headed by former Spirit Airlines chairman William Franke, Indigo was a major owner of Spirit as it began the transition to an ultra low-cost carrier in 2006. As is now well documented, he set the wheels in motion to purchase Frontier earlier in 2013 when he resigned as Spirit’s chairman and Indigo sold its stake in Spirit.
The deal is expected to close some time during 4Q2013; but Indigo has no doubt been plotting a strategy specific to Frontier’s network to ensure the successful execution of the business model change. It is a formidable challenge for a long-standing brand that for a long period of time offered at least some medium frills. Indigo’s biggest challenge may lie in avoiding isolating a loyal Frontier passenger base in Denver that has already endured a number of significant changes since its 2009 purchase by Republic Airways Holdings.
Similar to US carriers Delta and US Airways, Southwest Airlines recorded a strong financial performance in 3Q2013, driven partly by its ability to raise fares as well as some relief in unit cost pressure. The carrier remains optimistic about 4Q2013 even as it faces some headwinds stemming from the US Government shutdown and the sliding of busy travel days for the US Thanksgiving holiday from Nov-2013 to Dec-2013.
Southwest reaches a milestone in Nov-2013 when its de-hubbing of Atlanta takes full effect. By Apr-2014 Southwest and AirTran will deploy 160 daily flights from the largest US airport in terms of passenger enplanements. At that time Atlanta will be roughly the same size in terms of departures as Houston Hobby or Phoenix – two of Southwest’s top markets. But it will pale in comparison to Chicago Midway, which currently has roughly 253 daily departures.
Southwest’s management has concluded that Atlanta was a “challenge” for AirTran prior to the carrier's acquisition by Southwest and the de-hubbing should produce improvements in bolstering traffic in the local market from the airport. Carrier executives are also stressing the company’s shrinking footprint in Atlanta should not be interpreted as the airport’s value diminishing in the combined Southwest-AirTran network.
Spirit Airlines' latest expansion shows it has no concern over potential ultra low-cost encroachment
Spirit Airlines is turning its attention to Minneapolis in late 2013 with a seasonal push to four new destinations to complement its existing service to some of the largest markets from Delta’s fortress where the legacy carrier offers 456 daily departures.
The new links Spirit plans to introduce from Minneapolis in Nov-2013 reflects its stated goal for 2013 of connecting the dots in its network after making a huge domestic push beginning in 2010 into a number of major US metropolitan areas including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Houston and Minneapolis, a market Spirit entered in Jun-2012. Just prior to that push the carrier plans to transition its Phoenix operations from Mesa Gateway to larger Sky Harbor, joining Frontier Airlines in jumping from Mesa to the larger and more well-known airport.
Spirit is forging ahead with its business model against the backdrop of the recent resignation of board chair William Franke and the sale of Spirit stock owned by his investment firm Indigo. The moves have fuelled speculation that Mr Franke is pursuing Frontier in order to fully transition that airline into a true ultra low-cost carrier.
Aside from the baseball metaphor, there’s an old superstition dating back to the First World War that may be more relevant to the surprise attack the US Department of Justice launched on the American Airlines/US Airways’ merger proposal.
Soldiers in the trenches were incessant smokers, but matches were scarce. The story went that, with the first strike of the precious match the enemy sniper saw the glow; as the second cigarette was lit from it, he took aim; and as the third one drew hard, the sniper fired. So it became third time unlucky.
Whatever the real underlying story behind the Department’s move – be it politics, economically sound or simply mistaken theory – there can be no doubt that by the time American arrived at the front there were a number of beads being drawn, as the first two big legacy groups had already consolidated around Delta and United. Increasing concentration in the US airline industry has come with highly unpopular baggage and booking charges, along with generally higher fares and even, shock-horror, industry profits. With the benefit of hindsight, someone should perhaps have sensed a likely backwash.
The timing of Frontier Airlines’ parent Republic Airways Holdings disclosing that it had reached a non-binding deal in its long-awaited sale of Frontier followed by an announcement by Spirit Airlines that Indigo Partners was divesting its stake in the carrier, fuelled intense speculation that Indigo’s head Bill Franke was circling around Frontier. Mr Franke also resigned as chairman of Spirit’s board of directors.
It would seem logical for Mr Franke to make a move to purchase Frontier given Indigo’s ties to low-cost carriers Volaris, Wizz Air, Avianova and Tiger Airways. But the unfolding events pose an interesting question as to whether the mature US market really needs another ultra low-cost carrier (ULCC), and if Frontier can successfully transform itself into a true no-frills carrier based in Denver. Mr Franke, a shrewd operator, may think so.
After years of scaling back its Memphis hub, Delta Air Lines has officially declared Memphis is losing that status in late 2013. The airport’s fate has been sealed as Delta has been steadily cutting service from Memphis – from a peak of 300 daily departures during 2000 to roughly 93 daily flights. Once the de-hubbing its complete Delta’s departures from Memphis will decrease a further 35% to 60 daily departures.
Delta’s reasoning in closing Memphis rests on the significant reduction in 50-seat jets it is undertaking to reduce its small jet fleet to roughly 125 shells from a peak of more than 500 five years ago. The carrier determined it is unprofitable to operate those aircraft in Memphis where the amount of local originating traffic is somewhat sparse.
Even though the official de-hubbing of Memphis comes as no shock to the airport, which has been courting other airlines, political backlash has ensued against Delta. Tennessee politicians are accusing the carrier of making false promises when it merged with Northwest in 2008 when the company assured service from Memphis would not diminish. As American and US Airways work through the requisite approval processes for their merger, the decision by Delta to de-hub Memphis will only create additional pressure on those carriers to pledge no hubs within their respective combined networks will lose their respective status.
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