Direct Air ready for ad takeoff

Direct Air, a new regional airline that has been working on getting its operations in gear, is turning its attention to building an image for itself and will begin looking for an ad agency to help with the construction.
The airline, which already services 11 cities from Chicago’s Midway Airport, received an infusion of cash last month from an investment group to add more routes and become a major player in the low-fare, regional airline business.
Direct Air, which will change its name to Midway Connection, is banking on having the expansion finished in two months, and would like to have advertising in the works as soon as possible.
Although no details are planned yet, vp/marketing Dan Katzka said last week he will begin focusing on advertising this week.
Katzka said he doesn’t have any ad agencies in mind right now. He added that there is no timetable for a review.
“We’re still trying to figure out what we want to do in terms of advertising,” Katzka said. “Most of the things have been operational so far. We’re just getting to looking at the advertising now.”
“We’ve been busy trying to get things up to speed, so I haven’t had time to concentrate on the advertising,” Katzka said.
Direct Air will join a long list of regional carriers, but still feels it has a niche. Like Southwest Airlines, it plans on targeting highway drivers and plans on being competitive in cost. Right now, Direct Air is the second largest airline, in terms of number of flights, flying out of Midway. Southwest is the largest.
“Convenience and price will be our main focus,” Katzka said. “We’re competing mostly with our highways.”
Although expected to be a small account, agencies will be clammering to get on the list. Airline business, no matter how small, is highly visible and, like cars and other high-profile accounts, usually lets agencies flex their creativity.
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)