Seemingly bucking the trend suffered by most of the rest of the regional airline industry, Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group has managed to attract a fair share of qualified pilots to accommodate its seemingly unlikely growth. But while speaking Wednesday at this year’s Regional Airline Association Convention in St. Louis, CEO Jonathan Ornstein made certain to ensure no one came away from the briefing with any doubt about his position on the new legislation that requires new hire first officers to carry an air transport pilot certificate.
Jonathan G. Ornstein
Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group has rejoined the Regional Airline Association (RAA) after a 12-year absence. Mesa’s admission increases the RAA’s airline membership rolls to 27 carriers operating half of all U.S. commercial flights.
United Airlines has exercised its right to end its code-share agreement with Mesa Air Group covering the 10 de Havilland Canada Dash 8-200s the Phoenix-based regional flies mainly from Denver as United Express. Mesa expects that the last airplane will exit the United system no later than April 30.
Delta Air Lines on Friday notified Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group that it plans to cancel its contract to fly Bombardier CRJ900s as Delta Connection. The notice marks the second attempt by Delta to remove Mesa-flown jets from its system in recent months. A federal judge in late May issued an injunction barring Delta from ending Mesa’s contract to fly ERJ 145s.
While the traffic slump that beset the U.S. airline industry as a result of September 11 certainly manifested itself in fourth-quarter financial results across sector lines, an ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions mitigated the damage to the regional airline business, which showed remarkable resilience in the face of potentially devastating losses.
Mesa Air Group’s recently signed code-share agreement with Frontier Airlines calls for the Phoenix-based regional airline to begin flights from Denver International Airport to San Jose, Calif., and Houston as Frontier JetExpress, starting February 17. The 8:45 a.m.
In an industry led by comparatively conservative, low-key individuals, one regional airline executive not only tolerates the spotlight, he welcomes it. Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein–now in his fourth year as head of one of the country’s largest regional carriers–has become one of the industry’s most controversial figures.
Mesa Air Group last month reversed its decision to establish a new Cincinnati base and canceled all the flights scheduled to six cities from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport for July 8. Mesa contacted all affected passengers and reaccommodated them on Delta Air Lines or Comair flights.
Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group has signed a memorandum of understanding to enter a new fleet management program with Pratt & Whitney Canada that would include the sale of “certain assets” related to its Desert Turbine Services unit and spare PT6 engines. The tentative six-year deal covers 58 Beech 1900Ds and 116 engines, valued at some $70 million.
Regional Aviation Partners (RAP), the new Phoenix-based lobbying organization established by Mesa Air Group chairman Jonathan Ornstein as an advocate for small-community air service, has attracted its first new airline member and a pair of high-profile regional aircraft manufacturers in time for the start of the next congressional session this month.
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