Midway Airlines Lays Off Most Remaining Workers, Will Fly No More
Posted September 13, 2001 2:50 a.m. EDT
RDU INTERNATIONAL — The terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have claimed a local victim -- Midway Airlines.
Already in a precarious situation, Midway announced Wednesday that it will fly no more.
Midway's 1,700 employees are looking for work. Planes will go back to lessors, and the company will try to protect its remaining assets for creditors.
Tuesday's terrorist attack and the grounding of air travel were the final straw.
"Today we've made a determination to suspend flight operations indefinitely," Midway Airlines Chief Executive Officer Bob Ferguson said.
"With Midway in the financial trouble that it was, it just put the final nail in the coffin, so to speak," former Midway employee Bob Cardin said.
As laid-off Midway employees filed out, they hugged and talked about how quickly the end came.
"Let me put you on hold while I ask to my supervisor about your ticket. I put him on hold and talked to my supervisor, and someone comes in the room, and says, 'Everyone put your customers on hold,' and says, 'We're out. We're gone,'" said former reservation agent Mesa Somer.
The airline said it will pay employees laid off on Wednesday, and hopes to make payments of back wages and benefits to those laid off a month ago. That is up to the bankruptcy court. Refunds are being offered those holding Midway tickets.
The decision to shut down was made Wednesday morning as travelers began canceling their reservations.
"Business people had by and large all canceled their trips for the next two weeks, and then focusing on what was going on in reservations in particular, what people were basically saying was 'We don't want to fly on anybody,'" Ferguson said.
"Obviously, to the customers we'd say, 'Thanks, we appreciate your support, we enjoyed being your carrier of choice.' To the employees I guess I'd say, 'Thanks for all your hard work. You ran a really fine airline.'"
Midway must also figure out how to repay a $7 million loan, part of a $15 million commitment from Wexford Capital.
Holders of tickets for future travel on Midway will be entitled to refunds or recommendation on other air carriers. Midway will attempt to contact all such ticket holders to make appropriate arrangements.
Midway is working with other carriers to reaccommodate passengers. Full refunds are also available if passengers choose.
Instructions for Reaccommodation or Refunds:
Midway customers can go to the company ticket office from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is at 2801 Concourse Lakes, behind the Outlet Mall in Morrisville, just off I-40.
, by fax at 919-468-1193 addressed to Refunds Department, or by mail to: Midway Airlines Refund Department, 2801 Slater Road, Suite 200 Morrisville, NC 27560.
Effective immediately, Midway will begin returning aircraft to their lessors and will solicit purchasers for the various assets it owns or controls. Midway anticipates paying all obligations incurred following its Chapter 11 filing and proposing a Plan of Reorganization to deal with all obligations which arose prior to the Chapter 11 filing.