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. Mesa plans to use some of its US Airways Express CRJ200s to help fulfill a contract it signed last month to increase its United Express fleet by 30 airplanes. It might also draw from its surplus CRJs to consummate a new deal with Delta Air Lines to fly up to 30 CRJ200s starting in October. Mesa has not said what it plans to do with the surplus Embraer jets.
It became clear that Mesa wanted to distance itself from US Airways when the Phoenix-based regional failed to join Chautauqua Airlines and Air Wisconsin in a restructuring effort that saw them pledge a total of $235 million in asset-related financing to the bankrupt major. Acutely aware of the possibility of an America West-US Airways merger, Ornstein said, “We were not entirely comfortable with the fewer partners we may have.”