Air Midwest

Air Midwest

:"This article is about the regional airline based in Wichita, KS. For the article regarding the renamed Midwest Express, see Midwest Airlines."Infobox Airline
airline = Air Midwest

logo_size = 125px
fleet_size = 11
destinations = 28
code_share_partners = US Airways, Mesa Airlines, and Midwest Airlines
callsign = AIR MIDWEST
parent = Mesa Air Group, Inc.
founded = May 1965 (as Aviation Services)
commenced = April 1967
ceased = June 2008
headquarters = 2230 Air Cargo Rd, Wichita, Kansas, United States
key_people = Greg Stephens (President)
hubs = Kansas City International Airport
focus_cities =
frequent_flyer = MesaMax
website =

Air Midwest, Inc. was a Federal Aviation Administration Part 121 certificated air carrier operating under air carrier certificate number AMWA510A issued on May 15, 1965. It is headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, United States and is a subsidiary of Mesa Air Group. It operated flights as US Airways Express, including a code share with Midwest Airlines, and as Mesa Airlines. It served 28 cities in 12 states.


Air Midwest was founded in Wichita, Kansas in May 1965 by Gary Adamson as Aviation Services, Inc. Using a single Cessna 206, Adamson transported human remains for area mortuaries. Later, Aviation Services held out for charter and in 1967 began scheduled service flying between Wichita and Salina.

As Frontier Airlines withdrew from the western Kansas market in 1968, Aviation Services moved in to assume air service. In 1969, it changed its name to Air Midwest and ordered Beech 99 aircraft to keep up with its expansion.

By 1978, it was operating a fleet of 10 Metroliners and was expanding from Kansas and into New Mexico, Iowa, and Nebraska.

In 1985, Air Midwest merged with Scheduled Skyways, a Fayetteville, Arkansas based air carrier, in hopes of gaining a codeshare to feed Republic Airlines' Memphis hub. It seemed like a good merger for Air Midwest: Air Midwest would expand by acquiring routes in Arkansas to complement its existing routes in the midwest. Both carriers operated Metros, and Air Midwest had an opportunity to win a codeshare with Republic.

Unfortunately, Republic picked a different air carrier to feed its Memphis hub. Air Midwest discovered many hidden problems with the badly neglected aircraft of Scheduled Skyways, that forced it to perform the required maintenance to keep the aircraft flying. The next few years after the merger with Scheduled Skyways pushed Air Midwest to the verge of bankruptcy.

Although Air Midwest was unsuccessful in gaining a codeshare with Republic through the Scheduled Skyways merger, it was able to acquire codeshare agreements with Ozark Air Lines as Ozark Midwest, Eastern Air Lines as Eastern Air Midwest Express, and American Airlines as American Eagle Airlines in 1985.

Continuing money problems forced Air Midwest to sell its Nashville hub and Saab 340 aircraft to American in 1987. TWA acquired Ozark in 1986 and forced Air Midwest to surrender some of its St Louis routes because TWA already had a code share partner in St Louis, Resort Air (today's Trans States Airlines).

Eastern abruptly pulled out of Kansas City leaving Air Midwest no one to feed. Air Midwest quickly negotiated a codeshare agreement with Braniff (1983-1990), just in time for the second incarnation of Braniff to go bankrupt.

In 1990, Air Midwest negotiated a codeshare agreement with USAir. On July 12, 1991 Air Midwest published a message to all employees, "St. Louis hub sold to TransStates, all else to Mesa."

Operations under Mesa Air Group

From 1991 until 1997, Air Midwest operated 12 Beechcraft 1900s flying from its Kansas City hub as USAir Express. In 1997, Mesa Air Group underwent a corporate reorganization: Mesa Airline's FloridaGulf, Liberty Express, and Independent divisions were merged into Air Midwest.

Today, Air Midwest operates services for Essential Air Service and also has aircraft operating as US Airways Express under an agreement with US Airways in Phoenix and in independent operations as "Mesa Airlines" brand and division out of Albuquerque and Dallas/Fort Worth. Air Midwest also operates as US Airways Express from a hub in Kansas City, with smaller operations at Phoenix, Charlotte, Chicago Midway Airport, Dallas and Omaha, Nebraska. There are currently 20 airplanes in service, down from a height of 118.

On January 8, 2003, Air Midwest had its first fatal accident when Air Midwest Flight 5481 operating as US Airways Express and departing out of Charlotte for Greenville-Spartanburg crashed 37 seconds after takeoff. All 19 passengers and two crewmembers were killed in the accident.

For a period of three weeks in August 2006, Air Midwest operated as Delta Connection, flying three Beechcraft 1900D from John F. Kennedy Airport to Providence, RI and Windsor Locks, Connecticut, as a stop-gap measure for Freedom Airlines, another subsidiary of Mesa Air Group, until it was relieved by Chautauqua Airlines.

On February 1, 2007, Air Midwest began operations at Chicago Midway International Airport in Chicago, Illinois to three Illinois airports: Decatur, Marion, and Quincy. However, just nine months after beginning this service, Mesa Airlines announced that Air Midwest would end all service from Illinois on November 9, 2007.

In May 2007, Air Midwest requested that the FAA allow it to withdraw service from the regional airport in Vernal, Utah, as soon as a replacement carrier was approved. On Oct. 4, 2007, the federal Department of Transportation announced that Great Lakes Airlines would replace Air Midwest as the Essential Air Service carrier at the Utah airports in Vernal and Moab. At the same time the Department of Trasnportation announced that SkyWest Airlines would replace Air Midwest as the Essential Air Service carrier at Cedar City.

An report published in "The Wall Street Journal" on January 14, 2008, included a statement from Mesa CEO Jonathan G. Ornstein that the company had decided to shut down Air Midwest, citing significant losses stemming from increased maintenance and fuel costs. All cities served by Air Midwest received notices of intention to end service, except for Prescott and Kingman, Arizona. [cite news| url= | title=Mesa Air Swings to a Loss Amid Surging Fuel Prices | first=Donna | last=Kardos | work=The Wall Street Journal | date=2008-01-14 | accessdate=2008-01-04] Mesa later announced plans to completely shut down the Air Midwest subsidiary, with all services to be terminated by June 30, 2008. [cite news | title=Mesa Air Group grounds Air Midwest, citing fuel costs | url= | work=Phoenix Business Journal | first=Adam | last=Kress | date=2008-05-14 | accessdate=2008-05-14]

Incidents and accidents

*Air Midwest Flight 5481 - a Beechcraft 1900D operated by Air Midwest as US Airways Express under a franchise agreement, crashed into an airport hangar and burst into flames 37 seconds after leaving Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina for Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in Greer, South Carolina on January 8, 2003. All 19 passengers and 2 pilots aboard died in the accident.
*Air Midwest Flight 655 - On April 11, 2007, Flight 655, a Beechcraft 1900D, registration N135YV, from Chicago Midway Airport to Decatur, Illinois experienced a prop strike during pushback for departure at Chicago Midway Airport in Chicago, Illinois. The left engine was started during the pushback when the left propeller came in contact with the towbar and disintegrated. No injuries resulted from the incident.


As of February 2008, Air Midwest has 20 aircraft in its fleet consisting of:

Previous aircraft operated by Air Midwest include the Cessna 402, Beech 99, Metroliner, Jetstream 31, Saab 340 and the Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia.


MesaMax applies to Mesa Airlines flights that are operated by Air Midwest. It consists of a card, upon which flights are recorded with a stamp. Once 16 stamps have been recorded, the card may be redeemed for a single round-trip ticket on Mesa Airlines flights.


*cite journal
last = Henderson
first = Danna
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Robert Priddy's $1 million Midwest Gamble
journal = Air Transport World
volume =
issue = 98
pages =
publisher =
date = 05-01-1989
url =
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2006-09-22

*cite paper
author = various
title = Mesa Airlines Company Reports 1991-1993
version =
publisher = The Investext Group
date = various
url =
format = PDF
accessdate = 2006-09-22

*cite paper
author = Mesa Air Group
title = 1995-2005 Annual Reports
version =
publisher =
date = various
url =
format =
accessdate = 2006-09-22

*cite paper
author = Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
title = Mesa delays financial report to January
version =
publisher =
date = Friday, December 28, 2007
url =^1569919
format =
accessdate = 2008-01-06

*cite paper
author = Bruce Drum
title = Mesa to sell off Air Midwest, delays financial results
version =
publisher =
date = Saturday, December 29, 2007
url =
format =
accessdate = 2008-01-06

External links

* [ Mesa Air Group]

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