By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Aug 28, 2019 at 10:45 AM

Midwest Express is back and plans to initially offer nonstop flights from MKE to Grand Rapids, Omaha and Cincinnati, according to a press conference held today at Mitchell International Airport.

In order to get itself back off the ground, Midwest will partner with Elite Airways, based in Portland, Maine, though Midwest will operate its own reservations and customer service systems.

The planes – one of which landed yesterday and was on the tarmac this morning at Mitchell Airport – will be branded with the Midwest Express name and, yes, will offer in-flight chocolate chip cookies as part of its amenities package. The cookies were on offer today at the airport as part of the launch press conference.

"Today is a monumental day in our efforts to return Midwest Express to the air as Milwaukee’s hometown brand," said Greg Aretakis, president of Midwest Express, in a statement.

"We received input from many local businesses regarding their travel needs and this feedback factored into our choice of initial destinations."

Midwest Express was founded in 1984 and became Milwaukee’s "hometown airline." It rebranded as Midwest Airlines in 2002 and ceased operations in 2010 after becoming something of a hot potato, being part of deals with TPG and Northwest Airlines, Republic Airways and Frontier.

According to its website, "Led by Greg Aretakis, an aviation veteran and former Vice President at Midwest Express Airlines, the team consists of a group of extremely passionate supporters dedicated to bringing back Milwaukee’s hometown airlines. The goal is to bring long needed services back to Milwaukee with the comfort that you came to expect from Midwest Express."

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He has be heard on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories, in that station's most popular podcast.