WisBusiness: Hoeksema says Midwest will weather airline storm


Midwest Airlines shouldn’t need to lay off any more employees if jet fuel prices remain stable, Tim Hoeksema, the company’s president and CEO says.

Last week, Midwest announced it will furlough 109, including 35 pilots. And earlier today, oil prices broke new records, topping out at more than $117 a barrel after a rocket attack on a Japanese tanker in the Mideast and turmoil in Nigeria.

Hoeksema, speaking to television newsman Mike Gousha on his Up Front program, said these are “tumultuous times” for the airline industry. He noted that four companies have stopped flying in recent weeks and another has filed for bankruptcy protection.

But he predicted Midwest would be able to weather the storm. He also said a proposed merger between Delta and Northwest would not affect Midwest service to Milwaukee.

“That won’t have any bearing on Midwest,” noting that the biggest worry for his airline are rapidly escalating fuel prices and an economy that is teetering on recession.

See the interview on Midwest Airlines and other segments of “UpFront with Mike Gousha”