Local News

Travel Agents Claim Midway Tickets Are Selling Fast

Posted December 12, 2001 9:17 a.m. EST

— Midway Airlines is getting ready to take flight.

Tuesday afternoon, the Triangle-based airline announced that

it will offer flights

in six major East Coast markets when flights resume on Dec. 19.

Travel agents say tickets for the airline are going pretty fast.

"We have booked quite a number of people already," said travel agent Bob Gani. "[We've had] a dozen bookings with probably about three to five people per booking all over the map, especially the December and January dates."

Midway knows its recast role as a discount airline requires it to fill up at least 80 percent of its seats, something that could prove tough as Delta and US Airways are planning on matching Midway's low fares.

"Midway has decided that it is going to go after the cost-conscious traveler and the other airlines are saying, 'We are not going to give them up,'" said aviation expert John Kasarda.

Kasarda also said Midway has another liability that could cause the airline to lose passengers to competitors, a fleet of just five planes.

"If one of those aircrafts, for one reason or another, is not functioning due to maintenance, they have lost 20 to 25 percent of their fleet," he said.

Passengers seem anxious to support Midway.

"Without hesitation, I would definitely do business with them again. I'd probably go out of my way to do business with them actually just to support them," said a traveler at RDU.

Midway suspended operations on Sept. 12, 2001 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The airline later applied for and received $10 million in federal bailout money.

CEO Bob Ferguson put to rest questions about the airline's reliability.

"The answer is travel on us and we'll do a good job. If you do, all will be well," Ferguson said.

The airline expects to hire 250 employees as part of its comeback.

Midway announced that it will serve Boston, New York's LaGuardia and Newark, N.J. twice daily with one morning round trip and one evening round trip from Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Round-trip service will be offered daily to Orlando, Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

One-way fares to or from RDU International will be $49 for travel Dec. 19, 2001, through Jan. 6, 2002. The fare will be available on all seats and on all flights.

Between Jan. 7 and Feb. 10, 2002, the $49 fare will be available on a more restricted basis.

To take advantage of the special fares, tickets must be purchased within 24 hours of making a reservation and no later than midnight on Jan. 6, 2002. Fares are nonrefundable and travel must be completed by Feb. 10, 2002.

Reservations can be made by calling (919) 595-6399 or (800) 446-4392 or through a travel agent.