Milwaukee-based Midwest Express regional subsidiary Skyway Airlines will adopt the name Midwest Connect on January 1 as part of a company-wide identity campaign that will also see the parent airline change its name to Midwest Airlines. Midwest Express CEO Tim Hoeksema said the decision to remove the “Express” designation from the mainline came about because customers associate the name with a commuter operation. The change from Skyway to Midwest Connect reflects a desire to emphasize the ties between two companies, added Skyway president Jim Rankin.
A wholly owned subsidiary of Midwest Express since the establishment of Astral Aviation–Skyway’s corporate identity–in 1994, Skyway once again faces uncertainties about its fleet, as it considers the status of two more Fairchild Dornier 328JETs scheduled for delivery later this summer. Involved for more than a year in a heated dispute over Fairchild’s cancellation of the 44-seat 428JET program, Midwest Express must soon decide on its plans for its now 10-strong 328JET fleet as questions hang over the identity of the program’s eventual owners and a sudden lack of a U.S. support presence. Soon after resolving its as with Fairchild over the 428JETs, five of which Skyway had planned to add to its fleet before the program’s abrupt cancellation in 2000, Midwest Express had deferred first delivery of a planned 15 Embraer ERJ-140s from this coming January to January 2004. Less than a month later, on April 2, Fairchild Dornier declared insolvency in a German court.