Air Transport World

Corporate airline Midwest Express stays clear of larger carriers.

Appleton, Wis. -- In the quest to save time and money, several corporations operate their own scheduled air transportation. Xerox (ATW, 11/82), Hewlett-Packard, Conoco, Ford and General Motors are among the companies who have established so-called "shuttles" on densely traveled corporate routes. In 1981 K-C Aviation, the corporate service/maintenance subsidiary of Kimberly-Clark, Inc., joined the list of companies using such an alternative to the common carriage system.

Now, K-C Aviation has taken the next step. In June 1984 a K-C subsidiary, Midwest Express Airlines (YX), started offering its services to the public.

The reaction to this move by outsiders is predictable. "They're simply trying to cover their own costs of corporate transportation," goes the refrain from many people. K-C says otherwise. "The natural step was to turn it (the shuttle) into a profit center," says a corporate spokesman.

K-C Aviation at first used a Hawker Siddeley HS-125 corporate twinjet on the shuttle route between Appleton, four miles from Kimberly-Clark headquarters, and Fulton County Airport near Atlanta. "The shuttle quickly became so popular it was a lousy service," recalls Timothy Hoeksema, president of both K-C Aviation and Mid-west Express. There wasn't enough capacity in the HS-125 to meet demand.

It's no wonder demand was high. The alternative had been a 6:45 a.m. Air Wisconsin departure to Chicago, then a connection to Hartsfield International in Atlanta, followed by ground transportation to Roswell, site of a major corporate office and science/technology center. Corporate travelers arrived at Roswell at 1:30 p. …

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