Mesa interested in additional flying for American

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Mesa Airlines is interested in pursuing additional regional flying at American Airlines, following a decision by the mainline carrier to seek an operator for up to 60 Embraer 175 aircraft.

“I think they [American] feel confident in our operational capabilities [and] our cost structure,” says Jonathan Ornstein, chief executive of Phoenix-based Mesa. He cites the fact that the airline has added 13 aircraft to its fleet that operates for US Airways since the beginning of 2013.

American and US Airways merged in December 2013.

“Given what’s happened recently, that’s business that we would certainly be very interested in pursuing,” says Ornstein when asked about interest in the 60 E175s.

Fort Worth, Texas-based American began looking for a regional carrier to operate the 76-seat regional jets after pilots at its wholly-owned subsidiary American Eagle Airlines rejected a contract that included the aircraft in March.

“American has informed us it will award the flying of the Embraer 175s to another regional carrier or several other carriers in the near future,” said Pedro Fábregas, president and chief executive American Eagle, in a letter to employees on 28 March.

American plans to announce who will operate the aircraft in the “not to distant future”, said Scott Kirby, president of the airline, at the Phoenix International Aviation Symposium earlier in April.

In addition to American Eagle and Mesa, PSA Airlines, Republic Airlines and SkyWest Airlines operate larger regional aircraft for American.