$100M would be price to bring back Midwest Airlines and chocolate chip cookies

By August 18, 2017

Two investors, including a former employee of the company, are trying to bring back Midwest Airlines, a company that treated all of its passengers as first class.

The company, founded in 1984, had to cease its operations after its last flight landed in Milwaukee in November 2009, due to it being no longer a profitable airline, mainly because of the soaring fuel prices at the time ($145 per barrel).

During operation, Midwest Airlines was one of the most popular in the region, crediting its success to premium service that included spacious legroom, gourmet meals and warm chocolate chip cookies for all its passengers.

Now in 2017, almost 8 years after its shutdown, Curt Drumm, a consultant at Lakeshore Aviation, along with his partner Greg Aretakis, a former Midwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines executive are exerting efforts to bring back the airline.

While the two businessmen haven’t announced the return of the airline, their efforts have been brought to the spotlight by different stakeholders.

“We have a number of people we are working with, and because of that we can’t really make any announcement,” said Drumm.

Much like most startups, especially the ones in the aviation business, the revival faces a financing challenge.

“Boeing generally recommends airline startups have roughly $5 million to obtain an airline operating certificate (from the federal government, which can take years) and $100 million or more in investor capital to move from the startup phase to full commercial operation,” reported Tom Kim, a Boeing spokesman.

However, the project is met with some optimism and support by experts in the field.

“Greg Aretakis is a smart man and knows his way around the industry. He’s coming in eyes wide open. It’s not like he’s naïve about this stuff, because he’s not,” said Barry Bateman, retired director of Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, now operates an airport consulting business.

The airline’s website, which was registered in February this year had no content on it until this week. Now the page tells a short story about the ongoing revival journey.

“Plans are underway to bring back the iconic Midwest Express Airlines. Remember the great service, comfortable seating and chocolate cookies? So much of that went away, and hasn’t come back,” reads the passage.

Then it goes on saying “That’s why we’re working hard to bring back Midwest Express. With convenient destinations for business travelers, roomy seats, WiFi and friendly people who care about you, it’s going to help you plan your travel more efficiently.”