Smaller aircraft–specifically regional jets–are often blamed for delays in the National Airspace System, said Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein, in a recent speech at the Washington Aero Club, but he argues that “playing the blame game” takes focus off the need to expand airport capacity and continue to modernize the ATC system.
Jonathan G. Ornstein
Mesa Air Group last month won the rights to the assets of bankrupt Midway Airlines after outbidding Connecticut-based investment firm Wexford Capital by some $550,000.
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.
Honolulu-based de Havilland Dash 8 operator Island Air suffered the first serious casualty of Mesa Air Group’s incursion into Hawaii last month when CEO Rob Mauraucher announced he planned to furlough or lay off 65 full-time employees, remove two aircraft from service and eliminate five of the regional airline’s 17 routes.
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.
US Airways will ask a bankruptcy court for permission to void its code-share contract with Mesa Air Group, leaving 23 Bombardier CRJ200s and 36 Embraer 145s available for code-share flying with other airlines, Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein said during a conference call with investment analysts last month.
Mesa Air Group has taken responsibility for part of the lease payments on some 30 idle Fairchild Dornier 328Jets as a condition of its new code-share contract with Delta Air Lines. Scheduled to start Delta Connection service with five Embraer ERJ 145s next month, Mesa doesn’t plan to fly the German-built regional jets but sublease them to other airlines.
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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