Midwest chief’s letter blasts AirTran as ‘inferior’

Midwest Air Group Inc. CEO Timothy Hoeksema sent a letter today to “set the record straight” about AirTran Holdings Inc.’s hostile takeover bid for the company.

Hoeksema said his Oak Creek-based firm, which is the parent company of Midwest Airlines, has been the victim of “many false and misleading claims made by AirTran.”

Hoeksema criticized AirTran’s discount airline business model. “AirTran’s low-cost carrier business model is in trouble. By virtually any metric, AirTran’s business is deteriorating. AirTran is desperate to buy Midwest to stave off further erosion of its business. AirTran’s profits are deteriorating while Midwest’s are improving,” Hoeksema said.

Hoeksema also said AirTran’s claims that it could add 74 new flights out of General Mitchell International Airport if it acquires Midwest Airlines were unrealistic. He said the company has a track record of over-promising and under-delivering when it enters new markets, including Dallas/Fort Worth.

“AirTran leaves a trail of broken promises in markets it enters with great fanfare. AirTran typically promises growth and enhanced service in new markets, only to quietly retreat when it can’t keep its word. Since 2004, AirTran has exited 29 markets it had promised to serve, sometimes returning in a scaled-down version and sometimes not,” Hoeksema said. See story at http://www.biztimes.com/daily/2007/2/28/#hoeksema-says-airtran-is-inferior-and-desperate.