October 19, 2007

Midway Privatization

We should have looked into this. Over the past 3 years we should have out out an RFP for the entire airport to buy or long-term lease. If Midway can do it, you would think that ORH could have?

Here is a story from Chicago Business.com, part of it is here:

Chicago is "very close" to resolving questions Southwest Airlines and other carriers raised earlier this year about the city's proposed privatization of Midway International Airport, city and airline officials say. A Midway deal is “going to happen,” Mayor Richard M. Daley told Crain’s editorial board in a meeting Wednesday.

"We are close to a number of preliminary terms," said a Southwest spokeswoman who was interviewed later. "We are working very closely with the city, but there's still a lot of work to do." City officials originally hoped to put a long-term lease on Midway up for bid early this year and close the deal by yearend, reaping as much as $3 billion, some experts estimate. The funds would help pay for infrastructure needs and shore up city pension funds.


Anonymous said...

A little off the subject but another missed opportunity, not that it matters at this point- Collen Barrett of Southwest was in Worcester yesterday. See below-

Southwest strategy flying high


Lois B. Green of Holden, left, and Colleen C. Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines, mingle at the meeting last night. (T&G Staff/PAUL KAPTEYN)
Enlarge photo


WORCESTER— A passion for connecting with customers, whether those customers are air travelers or its own employees, defines Southwest Airlines Co. and has helped the airline thrive in a competitive industry, Southwest President Colleen C. Barrett said yesterday.

The Vermont native and Becker College alumna and trustee told members of the Worcester Economic Club at a dinner at the DCU Center that she wants customer service instilled in Southwest workers and seeks out job applicants who think of their work not as just a job, but as a cause.

“We tell employees from the application stage that we are in the customer service business,” Ms. Barrett said. “We just happen to provide air service.”

The Dallas-based airline, the nation’s biggest discount carrier, has a storied past, launching in 1971 with flights between only three Texas cities. Today, Southwest operates more than 3,300 flights per day and fields a fleet of 510 Boeing 737 airplanes. Southwest yesterday reported it posted a third-quarter profit of $162 million, up from $48 million a year earlier because its planes were filled with more customers.

During a 35-minute speech, Ms. Barrett told tales of Southwest’s early years, when the company decided to emphasize fun, ran beer-soaked Friday-afternoon flights for businessmen and advertised for flight attendants who resembled bombshell actress Raquel Welch. Men sued for access to the jobs and won, Ms. Barrett said, but Southwest shrugged it off.

“We knew we would lose, but we got hundreds of thousands of dollars of free advertising,” Ms. Barrett said, as economic club members laughed.

The airline encourages its workers to have fun and make flying fun for passengers, a goal that she said sometimes involves finesse. To succeed, Southwest must find employees who fit the company’s culture and are not just looking for a paycheck, she said.

“Most companies want people to be pretty robotic,” she said. Most people “have a real, personal personality and a work personality. Well, how stupid is that?”

When Southwest workers succeed, she said, passengers connect with each other and with the airline’s workers. Passengers open business branches based on the cities Southwest serves, she said, and make business deals on Southwest planes.

“We have people fall in love on our airplanes,” Ms. Barrett said.

Yet the airline’s focus on customer service is broad, according to Ms. Barrett. She said the airline’s primary customer is its employees. For some workers, their primary customer may be another worker, the way a mechanic’s primary customer is the pilot, Ms. Barrett said.

Taking care of workers ultimately translates to a service that is good for passengers, she said.

“If they feel good about what they do, they are going to deliver excellent, proactive customer service to our passengers, who are our second-most important customer,” Ms. Barrett said.

Although the airline’s cofounder and Chairman Herbert D. Kelleher once raised eyebrows by saying it, the airline also believes that offering good customer service does not mean the customer is always right when it comes to passengers who abuse Southwest workers, Ms. Barrett said.

“Believe you me, it happens,” Ms. Barrett said. “It happens, verbally and physically. We will not tolerate that, and we will defend our employees.”

Bill Randell said...

Yeah I saw that and thought the same thing... There have been so many missed opportunities, it gets tiring to even mention them anymore.