Air Transport World

U.S. nationals. (World Airline Report 1989)

Air Wisconsin: Last year was not a good one for the United Express carrier, and it placed most of the blame for its poor results on its marketing partner. Announcing a decline in revenues and a sharp drop in profits, it pointed to "the appropriation of certain profitable Air Wisconsin routes by United Airlines" in a 1988 route realignment. Air Wisconsin also has made no secret of its unhappiness over United's assignment to fellow United Express WestAir of most of bankrupt Presidential's routes out of Washington-Dulles.

Preston Wilbourne, chairman of the carrier's parent Air Wis Services, was quick to note that the marketing agreement with United expires in mid-1991. Discussions, he said, are under way with both United and other majors "aimed toward repositioning Air Wisconsin and re-establishing its profitability in the future."

Air Wis also has decided to acquire a major portion of another United Express carrier, Aspen Airways. Included in that deal are all of Aspen's stock and its lucrative Denver-Aspen service, along with seasonal services to the ski resort from Chicago, Dallas/Ft. Worth and Los Angeles. Aspen will be operated under its own certificate as a subsidiary of Air Wis. Denver-based Aspen sold its turboprop routes to regional Mesa Airlines.

Last March, the first BAe ATP to enter service in North America began flying on Air Wisconsin routes. The carrier has 14 ATPs on order and will use them to replace F27s on routes out of Chicago O'Hare. The F27s are going to the carrier's Dulles hub.

May brought Wilbourne's retirement as president and CEO of Air Wis and Air Wisconsin, although he continues as chairman. The new president/CEO is William J. Andres, who came to Air Wisconsin in 1987 after 24 years with United.

Air Wisconsin's revenues were down 3.5% to $171.1 million last year, sending operating income plunging to $1.3 million from $21.9 million in 1988 and slashing net profit to $648,000 from $17.8 million. Traffic results were mixed, with passenger boardings failling 9. …

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