Mesa in talks with Gulfstream & others over Air Midwest 1900s

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Mesa Air Group by the end of this quarter wants to close on a deal pertaining to its 20-strong Raytheon Beech 1900 fleet flown by subsidiary Air Midwest, chairman and CEO Jonathan Ornstein has revealed to ATI.

Although specific details are not being discussed, Ornstein says the company has been in talks with every airline that flies that aircraft type, including Big Sky Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines and Gulfstream International.

Gulfstream received US DOT approval to take over some of the unprofitable markets that Air Midwest would like to exit.

Ornstein previously revealed the company is also in discussions with Raytheon about possible options for the 1900s.

Separately, in response to Mesa pilots union’s decision to put up to billboards to express its anger with management over pilot staffing and morale issues, Ornstein says it is a common tactic for the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) to make such claims during contract negotiations. The contact becomes amendable in mid-September.

“We have attrition all the time. Mesa has the best pilots in the world”, says Ornstein, so major airlines recruit from the company. The April-May spike in attrition has subsided, he adds.

Regarding the soon to be eliminated Bombardier Dash 8 operations conducted by Mesa’s Freedom Airlines unit at New York JFK for Delta Air Lines, Ornstein says the aircraft are being returned to their lessors.