Massive shutdown of air service at Minot International Airport

Sunset in the clouds

Goodbye, Minot

Apex Airways, the home of Flight Attendants Who’re Jammin’™, the inventor of the industry-leading MiddleClass seating product, beloved by millions for bringing its quirky “ticketless, reservationless” system to the skies, and lauded for its “regulation-optional” approach to aviation safety, regrets to announce that it is shuttering its hub at Minot International Airport (MOT) effective immediately.

The closure of this hub is expected to result in job losses for approximately 900 western North Dakotans. Apex’s parent corporation will take a charge against earnings to account for the loss.

A boondoggle new terminal, an administration run amok

“We wanted to launch the best hub in America right at the geographic center of the country. We just opened our flagship Cloud Club here. We thought the crisp, cold winds on the plains would provide plenty of uplift for our jets. But in fact, weather was the problem: a chilly, hostile business climate in Minot from day one,” commented Apex’s Chief Legal Officer Bill Cash. “We were forced out. It seems clear that the Minot airport administration is more interested in buying fancy baubles and geegaws than actually attracting new service and competition to the region.”

Minot's replacement for the putrid Terminal D.

Minot’s replacement for the putrid Terminal D.

Cash cited the airport leaders’ obsession with the costly new terminal expansion project. “Minot’s jillion-dollar new terminal is opening this month. Notice that there is plenty of room for Delta, United, and Northwest. You would think with a federal subsidy of $10.5 million in August 2014, another $4.4 million in September 2014, and another $842,409 for dessert in August 2015, there might be room at the inn for a plucky upstart like Apex Airways.”

Instead, Minot airport officials were openly hostile to the new carrier. On February 4, 2016, Apex Airways received the following e-mail from Andrew Solsvig, the director of Minot International Airport (MOT).

From: Andrew Solsvig <andrew.solsvig@minotnd.org>
To: Apex Reservations <reservations@apexairways.com>
CC: Robert Lindee <robert.lindee@minotnd.org>
Date: Thu, 4 Feb 2016 8:49:39 CST

Subject: Please Remove MOT or Minot from your messages

Mr. Cash,

Thank you for the email however I don’t find it amusing to have a fictitious airline trying to represent the Minot International Airport causing confusion to any customers out there.  Please remove any messages related to the Minot Airport.  The information you display is false and not appreciated.

Airport Administration

And to date, Minot International Airport has not lifted a finger to promote Apex Airways as a competitor. MOT has failed to allocate a single gate, check-in counter, security checkpoint, or even a lowly parking space to Apex. Nor has the state of North Dakota or city of Minot done a thing to support this new market entrant. The invisible hand of competition, in this case, was a pallid, suffocating hand of indifference.

And it isn’t the first time in recent history that a carrier has been forced out of Minot despite a general explosion in oil-patch traffic. Frontier Airlines was also forced to leave the city just a year ago.

Apex promotional materials that will be pulled from MOT

Apex promotional materials that will be pulled from MOT

Some of the last Apex boarding passes for Minot

Some of the last Apex boarding passes for Minot

The future of Apex?

Apex’s Chief Operations Officer, David Alter, commented: “We are actively considering reestablishing our northern mid-central hub at another North Dakota city that actually cares about innovation and direct investment into the state — maybe Williston, maybe Bismarck. It is clear that Minot is not that city. And Passenger Facility Charges at MOT are through the roof!”

In the meantime, Apex will concentrate its flying on key point-to-point routes and at the established Branson, Missouri hub.

No lowly municipal airport official can shut down Apex Airways. Apex is bigger than all of us.

Apex Airways: it’s only a matter of time.

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