Midwest Express Holdings Announces Fleet Growth Decisions; Selects Boeing 717 For Midwest Express, Embraer Regional Jets for Skyway

Apr 10, 2001, 01:00 ET from Midwest Express Holdings, Inc.

    MILWAUKEE, April 10 /PRNewswire/ --
     Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:   MEH) today announced major fleet
 growth decisions for Midwest Express Airlines and Skyway Airlines, The Midwest
 Express Connection.  The Milwaukee-based airline holding company said it has
 selected the Boeing 717 aircraft for future acquisitions to its Midwest
 Express Airlines fleet and Embraer regional jets for its Skyway fleet.
     Midwest Express Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding placing
 firm orders for 20 Boeing 717 aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional
 30 aircraft.  The firm order is valued at $750 million, not including an
 additional $14 million investment by the airline for seats, galleys and other
 equipment.  In addition, Midwest Express Holdings has signed a memorandum of
 understanding placing firm orders for 20 Embraer regional jets, with options
 for an additional 20 aircraft.  The firm order is valued at $400 million.
     The fleet decisions have far-reaching impact for customers of Midwest
 Express and Skyway, according to Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief
 executive officer.  He said the future aircraft additions will allow both
 airlines to better meet passenger needs by expanding capacity on existing
 routes and launching service to additional cities.
     "The 717 is an excellent fit for Midwest Express, allowing us to continue
 offering the product travelers have come to expect," Hoeksema explained.  "We
 conducted extensive research and found out how very important our signature
 two-by-two seating is to our customers."  Known for its passenger-focused
 service, Midwest Express offers single-class service featuring two-across wide
 leather seats, fine food served on china with complimentary wine or champagne,
 and baked-onboard chocolate chip cookies on luncheon flights -- all at
 competitive prices.
     Hoeksema pointed out that the 717 was "designed for the short-range,
 high-frequency routes Midwest Express typically flies.  It uses advanced
 technology -- resulting in improved dispatch reliability, as well as
 significantly lower operating costs than our current fleet in terms of both
 fuel efficiency and maintenance."
     The 717s -- which will carry 88 passengers in the Midwest Express seating
 configuration -- will provide for fleet growth and eventually replace DC-9s
 that seat 60 or 84 passengers.  Midwest Express' fleet currently comprises
 36 McDonnell Douglas aircraft, with 34 in scheduled service -- 24 DC-9s and
 10 MD-80s.  (Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged in 1997.)
     Delivery of the new Boeing aircraft will begin in February 2003 and
 continue into 2006 at a rate of one aircraft every other month.  The first 717
 is expected to enter scheduled service in March 2003.  "Steady, controlled
 growth has always been our hallmark," said Hoeksema.  "Deferring delivery of
 the first 717 will allow us to focus on stabilizing our operational
 performance -- an issue we've struggled with over the past year -- and better
 position our company for future growth."
     "Just as Midwest Express selected the 717, we chose the Embraer regional
 jets because they have an excellent reputation among travelers and use the
 airline's resources wisely," said James P. Rankin, president of Skyway
 Airlines.  "These aircraft are extremely 'passenger-friendly.'  They have a
 comfortable two-by-one seating configuration, with the look and feel of larger
 jets."  He added that the regional jets' state-of-the-art technology will
 result in high reliability, with low noise and fuel consumption.
     The Embraer family of regional jets includes the ERJ 135, which seats 37;
 the ERJ 140 with 44 seats; and the 50-seat ERJ 145.  Skyway will initially
 acquire the ERJ 140, but said its order could include all three sizes.  "Three
 aircraft types provide us greater flexibility, allowing us to effectively
 serve markets of varying sizes," Rankin pointed out.
     Rankin added that the Embraer aircraft will allow for growth and replace
 some turboprop aircraft in the Skyway fleet.  The Skyway fleet includes
 15 Beech 1900D turboprops and seven Fairchild Dornier 328 regional jets.
 Skyway serves 29 cities mainly in the Midwest, providing connections to
 Midwest Express as well as point-to-point service between select markets.
     Delivery of the new regional jets will begin in March 2002 and continue
 into 2005 at a rate of one aircraft every other month.  The first aircraft is
 expected to enter scheduled service in April 2002.
     Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for Midwest Express
 Airlines, a premium-service airline headquartered in Milwaukee.  Catering
 primarily to business travelers since taking to the skies in 1984, the airline
 known as "the best care in the air" has earned its reputation providing
 passengers with personal attention, two-across wide leather seats, fine food
 served on china with complimentary wine or champagne, and baked-onboard
 chocolate chip cookies on luncheon flights -- all at competitive fares.  Conde
 Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure and the Zagat Airline Survey recognize Midwest
 Express as the best airline in the United States.
     Midwest Express Airlines features primarily nonstop service to major
 destinations throughout the United States.  Astral Aviation, Inc. -- its
 wholly owned subsidiary -- operates Skyway Airlines, The Midwest Express
 Connection, which offers connections to Midwest Express as well as
 point-to-point service between select markets.  Together, the airlines fly to
 49 cities.  More information is available at http://www.midwestexpress.com .
     This document contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and
 uncertainties, including statements expressing the company's expectations or
 estimates.  The company's actual results may differ from those currently
 anticipated.  Factors that may cause such differences include -- but are not
 limited to -- general economic conditions, competitive situations, the cost of
 jet fuel, and potential changes in government regulation of airlines or
 aircraft.
 
 

SOURCE Midwest Express Holdings, Inc.
    MILWAUKEE, April 10 /PRNewswire/ --
     Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:   MEH) today announced major fleet
 growth decisions for Midwest Express Airlines and Skyway Airlines, The Midwest
 Express Connection.  The Milwaukee-based airline holding company said it has
 selected the Boeing 717 aircraft for future acquisitions to its Midwest
 Express Airlines fleet and Embraer regional jets for its Skyway fleet.
     Midwest Express Holdings has signed a memorandum of understanding placing
 firm orders for 20 Boeing 717 aircraft, with purchase rights for an additional
 30 aircraft.  The firm order is valued at $750 million, not including an
 additional $14 million investment by the airline for seats, galleys and other
 equipment.  In addition, Midwest Express Holdings has signed a memorandum of
 understanding placing firm orders for 20 Embraer regional jets, with options
 for an additional 20 aircraft.  The firm order is valued at $400 million.
     The fleet decisions have far-reaching impact for customers of Midwest
 Express and Skyway, according to Timothy E. Hoeksema, chairman and chief
 executive officer.  He said the future aircraft additions will allow both
 airlines to better meet passenger needs by expanding capacity on existing
 routes and launching service to additional cities.
     "The 717 is an excellent fit for Midwest Express, allowing us to continue
 offering the product travelers have come to expect," Hoeksema explained.  "We
 conducted extensive research and found out how very important our signature
 two-by-two seating is to our customers."  Known for its passenger-focused
 service, Midwest Express offers single-class service featuring two-across wide
 leather seats, fine food served on china with complimentary wine or champagne,
 and baked-onboard chocolate chip cookies on luncheon flights -- all at
 competitive prices.
     Hoeksema pointed out that the 717 was "designed for the short-range,
 high-frequency routes Midwest Express typically flies.  It uses advanced
 technology -- resulting in improved dispatch reliability, as well as
 significantly lower operating costs than our current fleet in terms of both
 fuel efficiency and maintenance."
     The 717s -- which will carry 88 passengers in the Midwest Express seating
 configuration -- will provide for fleet growth and eventually replace DC-9s
 that seat 60 or 84 passengers.  Midwest Express' fleet currently comprises
 36 McDonnell Douglas aircraft, with 34 in scheduled service -- 24 DC-9s and
 10 MD-80s.  (Boeing and McDonnell Douglas merged in 1997.)
     Delivery of the new Boeing aircraft will begin in February 2003 and
 continue into 2006 at a rate of one aircraft every other month.  The first 717
 is expected to enter scheduled service in March 2003.  "Steady, controlled
 growth has always been our hallmark," said Hoeksema.  "Deferring delivery of
 the first 717 will allow us to focus on stabilizing our operational
 performance -- an issue we've struggled with over the past year -- and better
 position our company for future growth."
     "Just as Midwest Express selected the 717, we chose the Embraer regional
 jets because they have an excellent reputation among travelers and use the
 airline's resources wisely," said James P. Rankin, president of Skyway
 Airlines.  "These aircraft are extremely 'passenger-friendly.'  They have a
 comfortable two-by-one seating configuration, with the look and feel of larger
 jets."  He added that the regional jets' state-of-the-art technology will
 result in high reliability, with low noise and fuel consumption.
     The Embraer family of regional jets includes the ERJ 135, which seats 37;
 the ERJ 140 with 44 seats; and the 50-seat ERJ 145.  Skyway will initially
 acquire the ERJ 140, but said its order could include all three sizes.  "Three
 aircraft types provide us greater flexibility, allowing us to effectively
 serve markets of varying sizes," Rankin pointed out.
     Rankin added that the Embraer aircraft will allow for growth and replace
 some turboprop aircraft in the Skyway fleet.  The Skyway fleet includes
 15 Beech 1900D turboprops and seven Fairchild Dornier 328 regional jets.
 Skyway serves 29 cities mainly in the Midwest, providing connections to
 Midwest Express as well as point-to-point service between select markets.
     Delivery of the new regional jets will begin in March 2002 and continue
 into 2005 at a rate of one aircraft every other month.  The first aircraft is
 expected to enter scheduled service in April 2002.
     Midwest Express Holdings, Inc. is the holding company for Midwest Express
 Airlines, a premium-service airline headquartered in Milwaukee.  Catering
 primarily to business travelers since taking to the skies in 1984, the airline
 known as "the best care in the air" has earned its reputation providing
 passengers with personal attention, two-across wide leather seats, fine food
 served on china with complimentary wine or champagne, and baked-onboard
 chocolate chip cookies on luncheon flights -- all at competitive fares.  Conde
 Nast Traveler, Travel+Leisure and the Zagat Airline Survey recognize Midwest
 Express as the best airline in the United States.
     Midwest Express Airlines features primarily nonstop service to major
 destinations throughout the United States.  Astral Aviation, Inc. -- its
 wholly owned subsidiary -- operates Skyway Airlines, The Midwest Express
 Connection, which offers connections to Midwest Express as well as
 point-to-point service between select markets.  Together, the airlines fly to
 49 cities.  More information is available at http://www.midwestexpress.com .
     This document contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and
 uncertainties, including statements expressing the company's expectations or
 estimates.  The company's actual results may differ from those currently
 anticipated.  Factors that may cause such differences include -- but are not
 limited to -- general economic conditions, competitive situations, the cost of
 jet fuel, and potential changes in government regulation of airlines or
 aircraft.
 
 SOURCE  Midwest Express Holdings, Inc.