Airlines Remembered

Midway Airlines

Photos © R.Leeuw


Ceased operations: Nov.1991
Homebase: Chicago-Midway, Il.
Founded: 13 Oct. 1976
ICAO callsign: Midway
Flightnbr prefix: ML / MID
Operations: passengers

Midway Airlines was founded on 13Oct76 and took its name form its homebase: Chicago's second airport, Midway in Illinois. It opened in 1927 as Chicago Municipal Airport until it was renamed on July 8, 1949 to commemorate the WW2 battle.


With an early start at Detroit IAP in the summer of 1990, waiting for a flight to Chicago and onwards to Denver, I shot a photo of DC-9-31 N935ML (msn 47549/639).

During the deregulation of US commercial aviation, in 1978, Midway took advantage of the opportunites and recorded excellent growth. Scheduled services, using McDonnel-Douglas DC-9s, were started from Chicago to Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City on 01Nov79 (these services were published as Midwest-Metrolink Service).
The network grew rapidly and flights were added to destinations susch as Dallas,TX and New York-La Guardia. Las Vegas, Los Angeles and destinations in the Caribbean followed. Midway aircraft were also used for charter flights.
In 1983 the airline became a low-fares carrier and the fleet grew to some 60 aircraft. In 1984 a subsidiary company was created: Midway Express, taking over Air Florida (which had gone bankrupt). Another airline felt the pain of the new market conditions, Eastern Airlines, and Midway took over the Philadelphia hub as well as some 18 aircraft, mostly DC-9-30s.
Midway had created its own feeder services by 1987, which became known as Midway Connection.
All this created an enormous financial burden, while competiton was growing. In March 1991 the company sought protection under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Law on 26Mar91. Unfortunately, Midway was unable to find a strong investor, nor was anyone interested in a merger. So Midway Airlines had to cease operations on 14Nov91 and filed for bankruptcy.
The fleet in 1991 consisted of some 70 aircraft, a few Boeing 737s, mostly various McDonnell-Douglas DC-9 variants

In 1993 another Midway Airlines tried its luck, but failed in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in 2001

And again, this "new" Midway failed:
Just over 2 years after filing for Chapter 11 the airline was forced to file for Chapter 7 liquidation 30Oct03 after a judge signed the order requiring the company to account for its debts and turn over its assets within 15 days to a court-appointed trustee.

Sources:
Airlines Remembered, by B.I.Hengi (Midland Publishing, 2000)
JP Airline Fleets 1989


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