Mesaba May Soon Lose Avro RJ Flying

 - March 19, 2008, 9:23 AM

Northwest Airlines is considering exercising its right to terminate the Avro RJ85 agreement under which Mesaba leases and operates 36 of the four-engine jets, according to the Minneapolis-based regional airline. Under the terms of a 1996 regional jet services agreement between Northwest and Mesaba, Northwest can end the agreement by giving notice to Mesaba on or before October 28 this year. At Mesaba’s request, the two companies have agreed to extend the termination notice period to December 15 this year, giving Northwest more time to analyze a proposal for new contract terms. If Northwest provides notice of early termination, the agreement would end next April 25. Northwest and Mesaba have also agreed to remove five of the 36 Avro RJ85s from service–three on or about December 1 and two more on or about January 1.

“We are very concerned about the potential implication of an early termination,” said John Spanjers, Mesaba’s president and COO. “While Northwest is finishing its analysis, Mesaba will be developing plans to address the potential permanent removal of the RJ85 fleet from Mesaba’s operations.”

Although the agreement governing Mesaba’s Saab 340 turboprops remains intact, the long-time Northwest Airlink affiliate recently lost a bid for the remaining Bombardier CRJs on order by Northwest. The contract instead went to Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines.