ATA Airlines said today it would close its Chicago Midway hub and cease all scheduled service there, starting with domestic flights on April 14 and international flights as of June 7.
The announcement comes after ATA parent Global Aero Logistics said in a January regulatory filing that it was considering selling all or part of the Indianapolis-based carrier. Global Aero Logistics is headquartered near Atlanta.
The Chicago move is not expected to affect employment at ATA's Indianapolis headquarters, said spokesman Steve Forsyth, but will displace 53 ATA employees in Chicago.
At last count, ATA has about 600 employees in Indianapolis, down from the 2,300 it had before its 2004 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
"We will redeploy our ATA aircraft in profitable charter service," Rob Binns, Global's chief commercial and planning officer, said in a statement today.
"ATA has operated a Midway hub since 1992, and we have greatly
appreciated the support we received from the city of Chicago and our many
customers during those years," Binns said.
He said customers will receive refunds.
"This was a difficult decision, but the high cost of fuel has made it economically unfeasible to continue our low-fare service at Midway."
The Chicago pullout will end service from Chicago that includes routes to Oakland and Dallas/Ft. Worth and international routes including Cancun and Guadalajara, Mexico.
Flights between the West Coast and Hawaii destinations are not affected, ATA said.
The Air Line Pilots Association, which represents ATA's 600 cockpit crew members, earlier this week warned it opposed any attempt to fragment ATA in an attempt to preserve their jobs.
The union says ATA may sell all of ATA's scheduled service to Hawaii's Aloha Airlines or to Southwest.
New York investment fund MatlinPatterson bought ATA Holdings out of bankruptcy reorganization two years ago. Last year, ATA Holdings acquired Peachtree City, Ga.-based World Airways, parent of charter carrier World Airlines. ATA Holdings was renamed Global Aero Logistics and moved its headquarters to Peachtree City last year.
Many expect ATA Airlines to disappear entirely from Indianapolis as Global Aero assimilates its holdings. ATA hasn't flown a scheduled flight out of Indianapolis International Airport - where it used to be the busiest carrier - for two years.