Jonathan Ornstein rarely goes more than a few weeks without making headlines in the aviation press, but the fiery CEO of Mesa Air Group outdid himself last year with the launch of his new Go! subsidiary in Hawaii.
Jonathan Ornstein has heard assorted descriptions of his management style during his years in the regional airline business, but no one can accuse the Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO of standing still.
Mesa Air Group has now taken aim at a less visible target within the inter-island Hawaiian market, much to the dismay of incumbent turboprop stalwarts Island Air and Pacific Wings. By agreeing to enter a new code-share deal last month with Kona-based Mokulele Airlines, Mesa’s go!
In what promises to unfold as another controversial chapter in Jonathan Ornstein’s colorful tenure as CEO of Mesa Air Group, the Phoenix-based regional carrier and Hawaiian Airlines have locked legal horns over the fiery chief executive’s plan to enter the inter-island Hawaiian market this spring with 50-seat Bombardier CRJs.
Jonathan Ornstein’s mission to sink at least one of Hawaii’s two major airlines officially begins June 9, when Mesa Air Group’s new Go! subsidiary starts flying 16 daily round trips with three Bombardier CRJ200s from Honolulu to Kona, Kahului in Maui and Kauai for $39 each way. On June 30, as it adds service from Honolulu to Hilo, it plans to nearly double service to 31 round trips a day and increase the CRJ fleet to five.
Mesa Air Group CEO Jonathan Ornstein reported that load factors at his new inter-island Hawaiian market entrant dubbed Go! “significantly exceeded…expectations” during its first week of operation. Offering $19 introductory fares, Go! launched service with a pair of Bombardier CRJ200s on June 9 from Honolulu to Kona, Maui and Kauai, firing its first salvos in a fare war that saw rival Aloha Airlines give away 1,000 tickets. Most recently, Go!
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