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Midwest Airlines Becomes Frontier, But Cookies Remain

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Midwest Airlines Becomes Frontier, But Cookies RemainFarewell to Midwest Airlines. The Milwaukee-based airline’s new owners announced Tuesday that they plan to absorb Midwest into the Frontier Airline brand.

Republic Airways Holdings bought Midwest and Frontier last year and now are seeking to unify the two airlines by phasing out the Midwest brand.

Part of Republic’s decision was influenced by increased airline competition from Southwest Airlines and AirTran in Midwest’s routes.

According to Republic’s CEO Bryan Bedford, the Midwest name was not associated with budget airfares, making it less competitive against low-cost carriers. Frontier’s brand, however, has a low-cost association.

The Denver-based Frontier is also the larger of the two airlines and has national name recognition. With the integration of Midwest, Frontier airlines will add 15 new markets to its roster and serve 74 cities across the Americas.

Learn more about how these airlines got to this point with: Pilot Issues Scuttle Southwest’s Bid for Frontier, Republic Airlines Wins Out

The Midwest brand has been around since 1984, when the airline first started a regular passenger service. The brand was originally called Midwest Express but was later changed to Midwest Airlines. However, many airline analysts felt the Midwest name was too restrictive, and did not reflect the airlines services beyond Milwaukee and Kansas City.

Chocolate Chip CookiesMidwest was known as a luxury carrier with extra-wide seats and in-flight baked chocolate chip cookies, but service cuts over the years have hurt the airline’s brand value.

Today Midwest joins other discontinued carrier brands like TWA, Pan Am and Braniff.

Republic spokespeople say the unification of the two companies will be gradual. The  reservations systems of the two airlines will be merged by November of this year. A full rebranding will take place over the next 12-18 months, but customers can expect to see the Midwest name until October 2011. Republic is also merging the frequent-flier programs of the two carriers.

A bit of good news: the chocolate chip cookies that Midwest is famous for will still be on the menu.

By Adriana Padilla for PeterGreenberg.com.

Related links: Associated Press, USA Today, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

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