Republic Airlines CEO, Bryan Bedford, has a bit of egg on his face after his disparaging remarks about Milwaukee at a recent analysts' meeting in New York City. The comment by Bedord was "I don't care how cheap you make it, you don't go there (Milwaukee) unless you have to." I, like most native Milwaukee residents, am insulted. The timing is especially poor, since Republic Airlines just purchased Midwest Airlines, Milwaukee's longtime hometown airline.
Milwaukee is a great place to live and an exciting place to visit. We have a world renowned art museum, designed by Calatrava and a new Harley Davidson museum. We also host the largest music festival in the country with our annual Summerfest. Sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a beautiful city with lots to do.
Harley Davidson has had its 100-year and 105-year celebrations here, bringing more than 500,000 Harley riders home to party. The entire city gets into the celebration by closing the freeways for a motorcycle parade and multiple parties around the city. Maybe Bedford missed that little bit of information.Bedford tried to explain his comments away by explaining that Milwaukee came in the context of a discussion about price stimulation, which often is done to stoke demand on leisure destination routes. Whatever.
In an economy where we are all working to build a bigger pie, Bedford doesn't help. I hope he doesn't expect the warm reception that we give to thousands of visitors each year.
Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. For her FREE e-mail newsletter, please visit: The People Pro.
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