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Midway Airlines Deal Finalized

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MORRISVILLE — As WRAL-TV5 News first reported threeweeksago, the wealthiest man in North Carolina is now in the airline business.A group of investors, led by Cary billionaire Jim Goodnight, has landed adeal to take control of Midway Airlines.

Everything looks the same at the Midway counter at RDU International,but the airline now has new ownership. Goodnight, president of SASInstitute,gathered a group of investors who raised $22 million to pour into thefinancially struggling airline. They now own more than 70 percent ofMidway.

Robert Ferguson has been named Midway's new president and CEO, aposition he knows well. He is the former president of ContinentalAirlines.

Ferguson says Midway customers will not see much change at firstbecause expansion will move slowly. But, he says, whatever growth theairline does experience will be based at RDU

MostMidway employees are breathing a collective sigh of relief now that thedeal is complete. Midway has about 1,000 employees in the Triangle, and Flight attendant Dana Shiner says some have been worriedabout the airline's financial situation.

Midway is currently the busiest airline at RDU with 36 departures dailyto 14 cities. Last year it carried 26 percent of allpassengers leaving RDU.

Another potential owner of the airline, People Express founder DonaldBurr, wanted to move the airline's operations to John F. KennedyInternational Airport in New York.

Goodnight, who shies away from media coverage, did not attend Tuesday'spress conference announcing the $22 million deal.

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