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 has now taken aim at a less visible target within the inter-island Hawaiian market, much to the dismay of incumbent turboprop stalwarts Island Air and Pacific Wings. By agreeing to enter a new code-share deal last month with Kona-based Mokulele Airlines, Mesa’s go!
Bombardier CRJ-299 Regional Jet, Dulles Airport, Va., March 9, 2002–“The airplane’s collision with two wild turkeys” was the probable cause of a CRJ accident, according to the NTSB.
Delta Air Lines’ planned expansion at New York JFK Airport this summer will include a new three-year code-share deal with Mesa Air Group to fly twelve 37-seat de Havilland Dash 8-200 turboprops from the Big Apple.
In what promises to unfold as another controversial chapter in Jonathan Ornstein’s colorful tenure as CEO of Mesa Air Group, the Phoenix-based regional carrier and Hawaiian Airlines have locked legal horns over the fiery chief executive’s plan to enter the inter-island Hawaiian market this spring with 50-seat Bombardier CRJs.
Jonathan Ornstein’s mission to sink at least one of Hawaii’s two major airlines officially begins June 9, when Mesa Air Group’s new Go! subsidiary starts flying 16 daily round trips with three Bombardier CRJ200s from Honolulu to Kona, Kahului in Maui and Kauai for $39 each way. On June 30, as it adds service from Honolulu to Hilo, it plans to nearly double service to 31 round trips a day and increase the CRJ fleet to five.
As Aloha and Hawaiian Airlines drew the battle lines in preparation for Mesa Air Group’s planned June 9 incursion on their jealously guarded pieces of island turf, Hawaii’s most prominent RAA member, Honolulu-based Island Air, quietly hunkered down for the coming storm. Happily for CEO Mark Mauracher, the little but growing Bombardier turboprop operator can afford to assume the role of spectator.
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!
A bankruptcy court judge has set a date of August 4 to hear arguments related to Hawaiian Airlines’ request to bar Mesa Air Group subsidiary Go! from selling tickets for inter-island travel for one year. The motion for a preliminary injunction, filed in late June, cites Mesa’s alleged misuse of confidential information disclosed during Hawaiian’s 2004 bankruptcy.
Lufthansa CityLine has begun operating the first of 12 new 84-seat Bombardier CRJ900 regional jets that by year-end will replace its ten 50-seat CRJ200s. With no prospect of oil prices falling, the German carrier is looking for the sort of fuel economics normally available only from long-haul widebody operations.
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