Scales Back Scheduled Service, Focusing On Charter Ops
The increasingly-high costs of doing business have resulted in
ATA Airlines pulling its service from Chicago's Midway Airport, and
reevaulating its business model.
Citing high fuel prices, ATA officials announced Thursday the
airline, which opened a hub at Midway in 1992, will cut its
domestic flights from the downtown Chicago airport April 14. The
carrier's international flights to Mexico from the airport will
halt June 7, according to The Associated Press.
"This was a difficult decision, but the high cost of fuel has
made it economically unfeasible to continue our low-fare service at
Midway," said Rob Binns, ATA's chief commercial and planning
officer. "We will redeploy our ATA aircraft in profitable charter
ATA currently flies to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX and Oakland, CA
from Midway. In the past few months, the airline dropped a combined
10 daily flights from Midway to New York and Washington, DC.
The airline plans to continue scheduled flights to Hawaii from
Oakland, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, according to ATA
spokesman Steve Forsyth, though those routes could also be shut
down, if fuel prices don't drop soon.
The airline has operated a codeshare agreement with Southwest
Airlines since 2005. ATA will continue that partnership for now,
Forsyth said, offering Southwest customers service to Hawaii.
The airline seems pessimistic about its future as a scheduled
carrier, however. From now on, ATA will be primarily a charter
airline -- just as it was when it started out 35 years ago.