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. Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein reportedly approached the head of the Air Line Pilots Association’s Mesa unit with a plan to fly Boeing 737s out of US Airways hubs–most likely Pittsburgh and Charlotte–if the Arlington, Va.-based major fails.
Not coincidentally, Mesa’s US Airways Express feeder contract accounts for some 45 percent of the Phoenix-based regional’s business. It also flies as America West Express and United Express, but an attempt to significantly expand its United business failed after the U.S. Justice Department and the District of Columbia launched antitrust investigations into Mesa’s attempted hostile takeover of Atlantic Coast. More recently, Mesa issued a proposal to participate in Hawaiian Airlines’ bankruptcy reorganization but the creditors’ committee rejected its bid.