Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group expected to emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February, after the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in late January approved its reorganization plan.
Cessna 208B, Molokai, Hawaii, Oct. 15, 2009–The Grand Caravan was substantially damaged when its tail struck the ground during passenger loading operations. The aircraft was operating under Part 135 at the time of the incident. In a report to the Safety Board, Mokulele Airlines stated that the second-in-command pilot noted a load manifest discrepancy after the five passengers were loaded.
Now that his company has joined the ranks of the major airlines with its takeover of Frontier and Midwest Airlines, an admission by Republic Airways CEO Bryan Bedford of a “jaundiced view” of the small regional jet market might not come as a surprise.
Mesa Air Group will take a controlling stake in Republic Airways subsidiary Mokulele Airlines under the terms of a deal signed yesterday that will see three Republic/Shuttle America Embraer E170s exit the Mokulele fleet next month in favor of Bombardier CRJs flown by Mesa’s Hawaiian subsidiary, Go!. Under the terms of the contract, Mesa will take a 75-percent interest in the joint venture and Republic a 25-percent share.
Republic Airlines injected another $2.5 million into its partnership with Hawaii’s Mokulele Airlines on May 1 and this month plans to send a fourth Embraer E170 to the islands as it stages a more serious effort to raise its profile in the market. This past March Republic demoted former Mokulele CEO Bill Boyer to head of sales and marketing and installed its own vice president for strategic alliances, Scott Durgin, as interim CEO.
Hawaii’s Island Air will fly de Havilland Dash 8s between Kahului, Maui, Lihue, Kauai and Hilo as Go!Express under the terms of a tentative code-share deal it signed with Mesa Air Group in late February.
Mesa Air Group’s latest code-share partner, Kona, Hawaii-based Mokulele Airlines, flew its first scheduled flight as go!Express last month with a new nine-seat Cessna Grand Caravan. On April 16 Mokulele began flying 12 times a day between Kona and Kahului, Kahului and Kapalua, and Kapalua and Honolulu for Mesa’s go! unit, which continues to serve five Hawaiian destinations with Bombardier CRJ200s.
Jonathan Ornstein rarely goes more than a few weeks without making headlines in the aviation press, but the fiery CEO of Mesa Air Group outdid himself last year with the launch of his new Go! subsidiary in Hawaii.
Honolulu-based de Havilland Dash 8 operator Island Air suffered the first serious casualty of Mesa Air Group’s incursion into Hawaii last month when CEO Rob Mauraucher announced he planned to furlough or lay off 65 full-time employees, remove two aircraft from service and eliminate five of the regional airline’s 17 routes.
Mesa Air Group has now taken aim at a less visible target within the inter-island Hawaiian market, much to the dismay of incumbent turboprop stalwarts Island Air and Pacific Wings. By agreeing to enter a new code-share deal last month with Kona-based Mokulele Airlines, Mesa’s go!