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Old 02-28-2010, 04:38 AM   #1  
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Default Republic may drop Midwest name

Republic Airways plans 'unified' brand, may drop Midwest name

By Tom Daykin of the Journal Sentinel

Posted: Feb. 26, 2010 |(64) Comments

One year after marking its silver anniversary, the Midwest Airlines brand appears headed for retirement, a move that could cut costs and create a more focused marketing approach for Midwest's new owner.

Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings Inc., which bought Midwest in July and Frontier Airlines in October, plans to announce this spring its "unified brand plan," company spokesman Carlo Bertolini said Friday. He spoke after Republic Chairman Bryan Bedford said a new brand is coming soon, suggesting it might not use either the Midwest or Frontier name.
"We will get to a unified brand," Bedford said, during a teleconference to discuss Republic's fourth-quarter earnings.

"Now, that's different than saying we're going to pick one or the other, and keep one and lose one," said Bedford. "We believe both Frontier and Midwest bring great brand value to us. And we need to work in a path of fusing these brands that retains as much customer loyalty as we can."
"Fusing" the brands involves providing a more consistent product, including customer service, Bertolini said.

One brand for Midwest and Frontier also would help the combined airlines operate more efficiently and cut costs, Bertolini said.

Republic is conducting surveys of its customers, and it plans to complete that process by mid-March, Bedford said. Company managers will then talk to front-line employees of both Midwest and Frontier, which is based in Denver.

Sometime after Labor Day, Frontier and Midwest passengers will be booking tickets on one reservation system for both airlines, Bedford said.

"Again, I do believe that we're going to keep the best of both of what is Frontier and Midwest because both markets are just critical to us and to our long-term success," Bedford said. "But we're going to be very deliberate and cautious as to how we unify those brands."


'The brand is dead'

The loss of the Midwest brand name, which started with the airline's launch in 1984, will be of little consequence, said Steve Eichenbaum, who operates Milwaukee advertising firm Eichenbaum and Associates Inc.
Eichenbaum said the extra-wide seats and other characteristics that used to distinguish Midwest from other airlines are gone.

"The brand is dead," Eichenbaum said. "The Midwest brand . . .  isn't going to work for them. They're not the best care in the air. They're no different than anyone else."

"It's no longer Midwest in products and people," said Jay Sorensen, a former Midwest marketing manager. "It's a small degree to drop the name."
Frontier is a stronger brand name than Midwest, said Sorensen, who operates IdeaWorks, a Shorewood marketing consulting firm. He said Frontier is a better known name throughout the United States than Midwest and that it has a good reputation for customer service.
"But I think that this management team wants to have more control in creating a new brand," Sorensen said about Bedford.

Eichenbaum said the combined airline might simply be called "Republic." But, he said, that's a name that "doesn't mean anything" to Midwest customers.

Since buying Oak Creek-based Midwest, Republic has restored nonstop flights from Milwaukee to destinations such as St. Louis and Los Angeles. In November, Bedford said Republic would double its local workforce, adding up to 800 jobs in Milwaukee and Oak Creek over the next year. About half of those positions are to be shifted to the Milwaukee area from Frontier operations in Denver and elsewhere.

Hundreds of former Midwest flight attendants and pilots remain on furlough. They lost their jobs when Republic dropped Midwest's Boeing 717 fleet and replaced the planes with jets flown by lower-paid flight crews.
The Midwest crews might eventually fly on Republic-owned aircraft. But that depends in part on negotiations to combine the seniority lists of the different unions that represent employees from Republic, Midwest and Frontier.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:52 AM   #2  
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They should drop it. YX is gone. Everyone that made YX the great airline that it once was is gone. Pax know that.

RIP Midwest Airlines.
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Old 02-28-2010, 04:54 AM   #3  
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I think that is why they are doing it. BB did not realize the loyalty was not just to the name but to the service and the people. Because of this little fact, the name is worth nothing.
Add to it they need to rid themselves of it so that the passengers to not identify the old MEH with what republic is not.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:20 AM   #4  
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The real eye opening statement to me was that RAH was looking at dropping the Frontier name. I'm sure there will be speculation as to why, since there is some brand recognition still available, but IMO it would be a huge mistake. The new airline would just become another "startup" with a large structure, but no brand loyalty especially when competing with other large airlines. It would be a HUGE public relations nightmare for RAH to convince the public what the new airline brings to the customers. It brings up the example of Independence Air as they tried to explain what their airline represented. I think they burned through a lot if cash in their advertising budget, which was necessary for them since the didn't have an established name. It will be interesting to see how RAH approaches the change.
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:21 AM   #5  
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I think BB found the new name for his airline. After the serveys were turned in from the disgruntled Frontier passengers, he is going to call his new airline "Mid-Tier Airlines". You heard it here first boys............. (sorry fellas' I couldn't help but start the day off with a joke or two).
-Aloha
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Old 02-28-2010, 05:47 AM   #6  
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Republic can probably close up shop in MKE with that announcement. That D concourse is depressing these days, compared to a few years ago...
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:31 AM   #7  
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From another article:

"One name being considered is MidFrontChitLicCa."
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Old 02-28-2010, 06:57 AM   #8  
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Since the first couple of name resuscitation attempts failed, does anybody want to give odds that it will "Pan Am?
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:29 AM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pilotmyf View Post
Republic can probably close up shop in MKE with that announcement. That D concourse is depressing these days, compared to a few years ago...
Eh Airtran will soon be the home town airline and do damn well I personally think!
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Old 02-28-2010, 07:29 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zapata View Post
Since the first couple of name resuscitation attempts failed, does anybody want to give odds that it will "Pan Am?
Ouch...I hope not! Since DAL-NW didn't pick up the name, I'm still holding out a potential Continental-United merger would bring back Pan Am to overseas flying. Heck...CO already has a globe on the tail....

Sigh.
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