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.
U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Robert Faris last month denied Hawaiian Airlines’ request for a preliminary injunction to suspend inter-island service by Mesa Air Group’s Go! subsidiary, citing Hawaiian’s failure to meet the “stringent standard” required for such a severe measure.
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.
As Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines drew the battle lines in preparation for Mesa Air Group’s planned June 9 incursion on their jealously guarded pieces of island turf, Hawaii’s most prominent RAA member, Honolulu-based Island Air, quietly hunkered down for the coming storm. Happily for CEO Mark Mauracher, the little but growing Bombardier turboprop operator can afford to assume the role of spectator.
A bankruptcy court judge has set a date of August 4 to hear arguments related to Hawaiian Airlines’ request to bar Mesa Air Group subsidiary Go! from selling tickets for inter-island travel for one year. The motion for a preliminary injunction, filed in late June, cites Mesa’s alleged misuse of confidential information disclosed during Hawaiian’s 2004 bankruptcy.
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