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.
Mesa Air Group inked an eight-year deal with US Airways to add another nine aircraft to its fleet of 38 Bombardier CRJ900s, the airline announced in late February.
Hawaii’s Island Air signed a letter of intent with Chicago’s Aerway Leasing last month to lease five ATR 42s, the first two of which the airline expects to arrive in Honolulu by the end of this year and the final three next summer.
As Hawaii’s Island Air enters a whole new phase of life this summer with the roll-out of a complete image and brand overhaul, half a world away Franco-Italian airframe maker ATR can add another regional carrier to its growing list of turboprop operators. By around the start of next month the long-time de Havilland Dash 8 operator officially begins the process of trading equipment allegiances with delivery of its first ex-American Eagle ATR 72-212, now undergoing a C-Check at Premier Aviation in Trois Rivieres, Quebec.
China’s first private regional airline, China Express, based in Guiyang, has finalized a $264 million deal for six Bombardier CRJ900 NextGen regional jets. The value could rise to $491 million if the carrier, which will become the first to operate NextGen models in the country, exercises options for five more of the jets. Its current fleet consists of five Bombardier 50-seat CRJ200s.
Jonathan Ornstein began his career in 1987, working at Los Angeles-based Air LA, a small commuter carrier where he did everything from finance to aircraft cleaning. He moved over to Mesa Air in 1989, where he served as assistant to founder, president and CEO Larry Risley. He worked his way up to executive vice president, and then became president and CEO of Continental Express and senior vice president of airport operations for Continental. He then moved to Brussels, Belgium, to work with Sir Richard Branson to create Virgin Express.
Canada’s Bombardier identified China Express Airlines as a customer for its CRJ900 regional jet last week during Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Beijing for the Canada China Business Forum. The conditional order for six dual-class-configured CRJ900s plus options on another five, signed late last year, will give Bombardier its first sale of a new commercial airplane in China in “eight or nine years.”
Component repair services provider Able Aerospace Services of Phoenix, Arizona (Booth No. 2106) is here at Heli-Expo 2012 celebrating the recent groundbreaking of its new headquarters at Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport. With a 191,000-square-foot complex including offices and a purpose-built hangar, Able will become the airport’s largest tenant among a roster that includes Boeing, Cessna, Embraer and Hawker Beechcraft.
US Airways announced last month that it finished installing first-class sections on 110 US Airways Express Embraer E170/175s and Bombardier CRJ700/900s. With the addition of first-class sections on regional partners PSA, Mesa Air Group and Republic Airways, US Airways now offers same-class service to more than 85 destinations. The company began installing the two-by-one seating configurations on its Express aircraft in September and completed all aircraft in mid-December.
St. George, Utah-based SkyWest Airlines began flying as a US Airways Express partner on December 16, when it launched six daily flights from US Airways’ hub in Phoenix. The new three-year contact calls for SkyWest Airlines to operate some 49 flights to 19 destinations by the spring and includes an option for US Airways to switch equipment to CRJ700s.