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.
A Mesa Airlines Bombardier CRJ200 shed a fan blade and lost the front section of its left engine cowling during a scheduled flight from Denver to Phoenix last Thursday. Operating for US Airways as America West Express, Mesa Flight 2985 had flown some 60 miles south from Denver International Airport when, at about 5:30 p.m. MST, the airplane’s No. 1 GE CF34-3B1 turbofan ejected the blade.
Mesa Air Group will help establish a new Chinese regional airline under a contract it signed in late December with China’s Shenzhen Airlines. The deal gives Mesa a 25-percent stake in the new company, expected to launch service by the end of the year with 50-seat regional jets. The 500 million yuan ($64 million) venture gives Shenzhen Airlines a 51-percent stake as required by Chinese law and Delaware-based Wilmington Trust Corp.
Republic Airlines will fly 17 seventy-six-seat Embraer E170s as Frontier Jet Express under a new code-share contract meant to replace and expand service now performed by Seattle-based Horizon Air with Bombardier CRJ700s. The 11-year contract calls for the first aircraft to enter service next month and the last in December 2008. Horizon’s contract with Frontier expires in December.
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.
The Air Line Pilots Association last month issued a vote of no confidence in the management of Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group due to what union leadership characterized as slowing growth and rapidly mounting operational problems.
Bombardier Aerospace’s decision to suspend its long beleaguered C Series has naturally raised questions about what direction the company will take now that it has spent more than a year and $100 million on a still undefined program.
Excess capacity created by Mesa Air Group’s Go! unit has forced Hawaii’s largest turboprop island hopper, Island Air, to ground its Bombardier Q400 only five months after receiving it from the manufacturer. Island Air has also postponed delivery of two more Q400s for at least six months while CEO Rob Mauraucher looks for a place to temporarily redeploy the first airplane.
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.