Tim Hoeksema, the CEO of Midwest Airlines since Midwest Express was formed in 1984, may have sold Midwest stockholders and the community a bill of goods when he was seeking support to take the company private in the wake of a takeover bid from AirTran.
One of the selling points Midwest hammered was AirTran would dilute the "hometown" airline yet look what Hoeksema has done since the sale to TPG Capital (of which Northwest Airlines has a 47% stake) went through.
Yesterday was the last day of operation for Skyway Airlines, Midwest's wholly-owned commuter carrier operating as Midwest Connect. 380 Skyway employees lost their jobs including pilots who received not one penny in severance pay.
Midwest Connect service will now be contracted to SkyWest, a St. George, Utah based regional carrier that operates flights for several carriers, including United and Delta.
I have nothing against SkyWest. As commuter carriers go they're one of the best. But Hoeksema's hucksterism is rallying the community around Midwest only to see it dump the careers of 380 people is appalling.
Yes, there are decisions any business must make which may be unpopular, but why was it necessary to wait until after Midwest stockholders okayed the TPG deal to drop the bomb? And certainly Hoeksema, a former pilot, could have ameliorated things had he insisted that the Skyway employees be hired by SkyWest.
As it stands, it's looking more and more that Hoeksema was merely the huckster for a hoax on Midwest stockholders and the Milwaukee area community.