Mesa says it will stop American Airlines flights, and finalize the deal with United
Mesa Airlines (MESA.O) said late Saturday that it was finalizing an agreement to operate regional flights for United Airlines (UAL.O) after announcing it would reduce American Airlines (AAL.O) flights. ) early next year.
In a memo sent to employees and provided to Reuters by the company, Mesa Air Group CEO Jonathan Ornstein said the Arizona-based carrier is “finalizing a new agreement with United that will move all CRJ900 aircraft currently flying for American Eagle to United Express.” The CRJ900 is a regional airliner manufactured by Bombardier of Canada (BBDb.TO) with approximately 75 seats.
American Eagle is a network of six regional airlines that operate 3,400 daily flights under a codeshare agreement with America – often flights to smaller regional cities. Three of the six companies are affiliates of American Airlines, and three are contract carriers including Mesa.
A United spokeswoman declined to comment.
American declined to comment on Ornstein’s memo. The airline said earlier on Saturday that Mesa would stop its services on April 3 after deep cuts in March.
Flights operated by Mesa will be filled in by other regional airlines, American said in a note shared with Reuters by the company, adding that “Air Wisconsin is preparing to join the American Eagle family earlier than planned.”
Mesa said the change was prompted by a shortage of regional pilots and US actions related to it.
Ornstein said America “dramatically raised regional pilot pay for its wholly-owned subsidiaries to deter pilots from going to national carriers and to attract pilots from the ever-shrinking pool of qualified pilot applicants.”
But, Ornstein added in the Mesa memo, “America chose not to fund higher pilot rates for its non-America airlines. At the same time, we were penalized for not providing the blocking hours required under our pre-COVID contract with American and both of those actions cost us nearly $5 million.” losses per month.
Ornstein said, “As a result, we have concerns about Americans’ ability to be a reliable partner going forward… We do not believe it is in Mesa’s long-term interest to fund continued losses in America.”
The latter delivered the decision differently in his memo, saying that Mesa “has encountered numerous financial and operational difficulties this year. As a result, we have concerns about Mesa’s ability to be a reliable partner for Americans moving forward.”
Under the expected new agreement, Ornstein of Mesa said, “United will retain all existing residences and maintenance bases currently operated for America and plan to add Denver as home and Houston as CRJ’s headquarters.”
Ornstein noted that United announced a huge order of Boeing BA.N planes on Tuesday – 100 787 Dreamliners and 100 737 Max planes.
“United’s growth plan offers wide-ranging advancement opportunities for our people,” Ornstein wrote. “This deeper relationship will position us to be the carrier of choice for future regional aviation opportunities with United.”
David Shepardson News. Editing by Jonathan Otis and Kenneth Maxwell
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