Local News

Midway Still Flying -- For Now

Posted October 9, 2003

— Midway Airlines has two more weeks to try and fly out of turbulent times.

On Thursday, a federal bankruptcy-court judge just gave Midway another two weeks to pull together more financing before ordering liquidation of its assets.

The airline also reportedly has reached a contract agreement with its pilots.

Earlier Thursday, the airline and its pilots appeared far apart on reaching a new contract agreement. It appeared there would be no workable plan; the court-imposed deadline was up, and the judge overseing Midway's Chapter 11 bankruptcy threatened to order liquidation of the airline's assets.

Midway is not the ambitious airline that began a few years ago with 100 daily departures from Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 2,700 employees. The financially troubled airline is trying to stay alive with 200 employees and a fleet of eight regional jets flying for US Airways.

But Midway's days could be numbered. A federal bankruptcy judge said that if Midway cannot present a reorganization plan showing that it can operate as a successful business within two weeks, then will order liquidation.

Midway is counting on concessions with its pilots as proof that it can fly its way out of bankruptcy.

Thursday morning, the pilots' representative reported there was no agreement.

In a prepared statement, Mark Stewart, with Midway Pilots, said negotiations for financial concessions have been "an exercise in frustration.

"Management dictated what they wanted, and our requests fell on deaf ears," Stewart said.

Midway President and CEO Robert Ferguson has refused to comment on the failure to reach a new contract.

Midway officials have said a new contract with the pilots could help secure another loan that could help the airline emerge from bankruptcy.


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