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.
Last month’s decision by United Airlines to cut loose Air Wisconsin Airline Corp. (AWAC) from its stable of regional affiliates might not have come as a surprise to Geoff Crowley and company, but the drawn-out divorce will no doubt leave a wound that might take more than the comfort of a new partner to fully heal.
SkyWest Airlines will fly another 20 CRJ700s for United Airlines as part of a deal that saw the St. George, Utah-based regional place another $637 million order with Bombardier last month. The contract calls for delivery of the airplanes starting in the third quarter and ending during next year’s first quarter. Configured to hold 66 passengers, the airplanes will carry six first-class seats.
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.