While the traffic slump that beset the U.S. airline industry as a result of September 11 certainly manifested itself in fourth-quarter financial results across sector lines, an ability to adapt quickly to changing market conditions mitigated the damage to the regional airline business, which showed remarkable resilience in the face of potentially devastating losses.
Mesa Air Group
Mesa, Ariz., will be the site of a new Hawker Beechcraft Services aircraft
maintenance and service facility.
For the first time in recent memory the U.S. regional airline industry could experience a drop in passenger boardings during the second half of this year as skyrocketing fuel costs prompt the nation’s major airlines to reconsider the use of their partners’ most fuel-thirsty assets.
Hawaiian de Havilland Dash 8 operator IslandAir withdrew from a newly awarded Essential Air Service (EAS) contract to serve four mainland communities from Kansas City last month after deeming its plans to start operations in September “unrealistic” due to rising fuel costs and a shortage of trained personnel.
Delta Air Lines notified Pinnacle Airlines last month that it intends to dissolve their Delta Connection contract effective July 31. Delta cited Memphis-based Pinnacle’s failure to meet contractually guaranteed on-time performance rates for its decision. In late May a federal judge blocked Delta’s attempts to end its contract with Mesa Air Group’s Freedom Airlines subsidiary for the same stated reason.
Delta Air Lines has notified Pinnacle Airlines that it intends to dissolve their Delta Connection contract, effective July 31. Delta cited Memphis-based Pinnacle’s failure to meet contractually guaranteed on-time performance rates for its decision. A federal judge recently blocked Delta’s attempts to end its contract with Mesa Air Group’s Freedom Airlines subsidiary for the same stated reason.
Bombardier CL-600-2B19 CRJ, Hilo, Hawaii, Feb. 13, 2008–The Mesa Airlines Go! flight from Honolulu to Hilo overflew its destination airport, Hilo International/General Lyman Field, in cruise. When the airplane was at 21,000 feet the controller tried unsuccessfully several times in 25 minutes to contact the crew, not reaching them until they were 15 miles beyond the airport.
The DOT has awarded Hawaii’s Island Air the rights to fly three EAS routes from Kansas City International Airport now served by Mesa Air Group subsidiary Air Midwest. The Mesa-owned Beech 1900 operator filed a 90-day notice to withdraw from Joplin, Mo.; Grand Island, Neb.; and Harrison, Ark., on January 22, but EAS rules require it to stay until a replacement airline begins service.
Mesa Air Group has dropped its appeal of an $80 million award issued to Hawaiian Airlines and agreed to pay a $52.5 million settlement for using confidential information it obtained during Hawaiian’s 2004 bankruptcy proceedings to launch inter-island subsidiary Go! Last October the bankruptcy court ordered Mesa to pay Hawaiian post-judgment interest and its cost of litigation and lawyer fees.
All four of Delta Air Lines’ regional affiliates benefited from the company’s continuing network realignment last month, as Delta concentrates ever more intently on “rationalizing” capacity and cutting costs with regional jets.