Keenly aware that code-share partner US Airways might not survive the growing threat of another bankruptcy, Mesa Air Group has expanded its contingencies to include starting a discount airline, à la Atlantic Coast Airlines.
United Airlines availed itself of more options to its imperiled code-share partnership with Atlantic Coast Airlines last month, when it recruited Indianapolis-based Chautauqua and Republic Airlines and Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Shuttle America to fly as United Express out of Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare Airports.
The Bombardier CRJ line of regional jets added to its ample order totals recently when over the span of two weeks Mesa Air Group and SkyWest Airlines each signed new deals involving 50-, 70- and 86-seat jets. In Mesa’s case, the Phoenix-based carrier exercised options on a mix of 20 CRJ700s and -900s for delivery through next year.
Mesa Air Group will fly another 14 Bombardier CRJ900s as Delta Connection starting in September under the terms of a contract amendment that also calls for Mesa to immediately add six 50-seat ERJ 145s, then to remove eight of its original 30 ERJ 145s from August to October 2008. Delta also granted Mesa a $31 million claim in its bankruptcy case.
United Airlines has asked for requests for proposal (RFP) from 10 regional airlines to fly up to 70 regional jets on routes now controlled by Appleton, Wis.-based Air Wisconsin. The 10 airlines include all of United’s existing partners, as well as Independence Air–the former United Express carrier turned low-fare competitor to UAL at Washington Dulles and Chicago O’Hare Airports.
United Airlines wasted no time implementing contingency plans to replace services provided by soon-to-be estranged partner Atlantic Coast Airlines after a district court injunction prompted Mesa Air Group to drop its takeover bid for the Sterling, Va.-based regional. Last month the bankrupt major airline recruited St.
US Airways will ask a bankruptcy court for permission to void its code-share contract with Mesa Air Group, leaving 23 Bombardier CRJ200s and 36 Embraer 145s available for code-share flying with other airlines, Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein said during a conference call with investment analysts last month.
US Airways’ plans for new code-share partner Air Wisconsin finally crystallized last month, when the major airline loaded new schedules showing the Appleton, Wis.-based regional’s Bombardier CRJ200s on a host of routes from Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C.
Republic Airways last month offered another 7.75 million shares of common stock to help fund a fleet expansion that will see it field 28 Embraer 170s for US Airways and another five for United Airlines. Republic Airways operating unit Republic Airlines, formed last year to fly the 70-seat jets for United, to earn its operating certificate imminently.
The DOT on July 15 issued Trans States Holdings’ GoJet unit tentative approval for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, bringing it a step closer to launching service as a United Express carrier. The new entity, established in December to fly 70-seat jets for United, would start flying by the end of this month with a pair of CRJ700s if all goes according to schedule.