Some 25 pilots of Mesa Air Group picketed the company’s headquarters in Phoenix last month to publicly air a series of grievances over work rules. The main issue, according to the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA), involves complaints about an alleged company practice of forcing pilots to work on their days off without any notice.
United Airlines wasted no time implementing contingency plans to replace services provided by soon-to-be estranged partner Atlantic Coast Airlines after a district court injunction prompted Mesa Air Group to drop its takeover bid for the Sterling, Va.-based regional. Last month the bankrupt major airline recruited St.
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.
Bombardier has answered the call for a series of improvements to its line of 70- to 86-seat RJs, ranging from new engines on the CRJ700 to wing modifications on the CRJ900. Bombardier also plans to certify its CRJ700 and CRJ900 for higher mtows, giving each significantly more range.
Transcripts released by the FAA early last month reveal that the pilots of the Pinnacle Airlines CRJ200 that crashed in Jefferson City, Mo., on October 18 purposely climbed to 41,000 feet to “have a little fun” before the jet, its 50 passenger seats empty, lost power and began a rapid descent. “We don’t have any passengers on board so we decided to have a little fun and come on up here,” said one of the pilots.
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.