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Midwest Airlines

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Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 taxiing for departure at John Wayne Airport (Santa Ana, California, USA) in February 2004
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Midwest Airlines Boeing 717 taxiing for departure at John Wayne Airport (Santa Ana, California, USA) in February 2004

Midwest Airlines is a scheduled passenger airline based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, operating from General Mitchell International Airport. Midwest Airlines is known for its all first class seating arrangement, with most planes outfitted with leather seats arranged 2-by-2. On most flights, Midwest Airlines treats their customers to chocolate-chip cookies baked fresh in-flight.

Midwest Airlines began life in 1948, when Kimberly-Clark Corporation began providing air transportation for company executives and engineers between the company's Appleton headquarters and their mills.

In 1969, K-C Aviation was born from this, and was dedicated to the maintenance of corporate aircraft. After the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978, Kimberly-Clark and K-C Aviation decided to form a regular scheduled passenger airline, and out of that initiative, Midwest Express was started in 1984.

In 1985, Midwest Express suffered their first (and, as of 2005, only) accident, when a Douglas DC-9 of the airline crashed while taking off from Milwaukee, bound for Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport. According to FAA reports, the crash was caused by failure of the plane's right engine, due to engine fatigue. The engine failure caused the plane to stall during take off. The 31 people on board died.

Midwest has become the longstanding largest operation at Mitchell Airport and serves 21 cities non-stop, while their regional partner serves nearly 30 destinations throughout the Central U.S. Since the late 1990's, second hub operations have focuesd on Kansas City where they presently operate nonstop service to nine cities across the country.

After financial problems that hit the entire aviation industry hard following 9/11/01, Midwest Airlines launched a new strategic plan to return to profitability. They added a 'saver service' featuring standard coach seats in width, but with the same amount of legroom. This service is offered from their Milwaukee hub to leisure destinations such as Florida, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Phoenix. The excellent meals on china also came to an end in late 2002. In May 2005, Midwest announced a new buy on board meal service for customers. The new program is a step up from 'In-flight Cafe' and features chefs and inspiration from the renowned Mader's restaurant.

In 2003, the airline decided to change its name from Midwest Express to Midwest Airlines and started to replace it's DC-9s with Boeing 717s, while keeping its McDonnell-Douglas MD-80s. The name of their connector airline also changed from Skyway Airlines to Midwest Connect, which operates Fairchild-Dornier 328JET aircraft and Beech 1900D turboprops.

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Photo copyrighted by, and courtesy of, Mr. Michael Carter

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