United Airlines has turned the proverbial tables on Mesa Air Group with an effort to block a plan by Mesa to replace some of the 50-seat CRJ200s scheduled for removal from the United system on April 30 with ten 70-seat CRJ700s. Mesa notified United of its intention to introduce the CRJ700s between October 15 and December 15 of this year; however, United claims in a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois that its contract clearly requires a direct, one-for-one replacement. United recently exercised its right to end its code-share agreement with Mesa covering 10 de Havilland Dash 8-200s. Both that contract and the deal covering 26 CRJ200s end April 30. Mesa hoped to cushion the blow associated with the retirements by invoking a clause in its United Express contract that allows it to replace the 50-seat CRJs with 70-seat jets for a 10-year period.
However, in its complaint, United claims that Mesa’s planned delivery schedule does not correspond with the retirement of 10 CRJ200s and, therefore, “United may properly decline the ten [CRJ700s] at issue.”