Regionals Update: Northwest Airlink reorganizes Memphis ops

 - May 29, 2008, 7:56 AM

Northwest Airlink subsidiary Express Airlines I will move to an all-regional-jet fleet and Minneapolis-based Mesaba Airlines will provide all Northwest Airlines’ Saab 340 service in Memphis, Tenn., under a new agreement that saw Mesaba reduce its service fees to Northwest by 10 percent during last year’s fourth quarter. Under the new arrangement, Express I will transfer its remaining 11 Saab 340s to Mesaba “early this year.” By the fall, Mesaba plans to transfer up to eight of its own Saab 340s from Minneapolis and Detroit to Memphis. The deal essentially completes Northwest’s plan to organize its two primary regional affiliates according to aircraft type, rather than location.

As part of the agreement, Express Airlines I will continue to provide ground support and perform customer-service duties for Mesaba at Memphis. The airline does not anticipate changes to employment levels as a result of the activity.

Now flying a fleet of 28 fifty-seat CRJs from Memphis, Detroit and Minneapolis, Express Airlines I plans to add at least another 26 of the jets under an agreement reached with Northwest in 2000. However, Northwest has not yet announced the recipient of another order for seventy-five 44-seat CRJ440s, scheduled for first delivery by the end of the year.