Yesterday, we discussed the first airline mileage promotion of 2010. Today, we bring you news of the first airline bankruptcy filing of 2010: Mesa Airlines.
Never heard of Mesa? You are not alone, but chances are pretty good you've flown on them at one point or another. Mesa operates ~130 aircraft under the codeshare colors of United, Delta and USAirways from coast to coast. Mesa also operates a small operation in Hawaii linking the major airports there under the go! brand.
Mesa has fallen victim to falling demand and rising fuel costs which have caused the major airlines to cancel contracts with Mesa for codeshare flying.
In November, United announced that they would cancel contracts covering 26 CRJ-200s currently operated by Mesa no later than April of this year. With fuel prices back up and airline yield softness continuing, these 50 seat aircraft have become some of the least desirable aircraft in the skies. Mesa also is scheduled to terminate a similar contract with United for 10 Dash-8 props at the same time.
Mesa is also embroiled in a contract dispute with Delta whereby Delta is attempting to return another 22 regional jets to Mesa.
There are no homes for these aircraft with the majors right now in the current climate. With over 40% of the Mesa Air fleet potentially side-lined in the coming months, one can understand the need for a reorganization.
Will Republic Airways ride in as the white knight to offer DIP financing as they did with Frontier in attempt to further consolidate the regional industry? Republic and Mesa already have a joint venture in Hawaii with go! and Mokulele.
We doubt it, but we know Southwest will NOT be at the table this time...