Midwest Airlines of Oak Creek will permanently ground its Boeing 717 jets on Nov. 3, leaving the remaining Midwest pilots and flight crews without jobs.
“While there will still be airplanes flying with ‘Midwest’ written on them, there will no longer be any of the pilots who truly provided ‘the best care in the air’ operating them,” said Anthony Freitas, chairman of the Midwest Airlines unit of the Air Line Pilots Association.
“All of the original Midwest flight crews are being outsourced in the final phase of dismantling our airline.”
The remaining Boeing 717 aircraft will be returned to the manufacturer on Nov. 3 and all of the remaining Midwest pilots will no longer fly any Midwest aircraft, according to the union.
“Midwest’s new owner hopes that if they keep the same paint scheme and cookies, no one will notice that the crews who helped build our airline’s well-deserved reputation for award-winning customer service are gone,” Freitas said.
The move to lower-cost pilots will be “devastating” to Midwest pilots and their families, he said.
Midwest is replacing its nine remaining Boeing 717 aircraft with Embraer 190 aircraft. Last October, Midwest entered into an agreement with Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings to replace Midwest’s Boeing 717s with Embraer aircraft flown by pilots employed by Republic subsidiary Republic Airlines.
Midwest Airlines, which is now owned by Republic Airways, filed an updated mass layoff notice with the state on Sept. 25 indicating that 68 pilots and 52 flight attendants would be furloughed in November as a result of the grounding of the 717 planes.