Jonathan G Ornstein was born in Manhattan in June 1957. He attended the University of Pennsylvania for three years, but did not graduate, when after his junior year he got a job at EF Hutton in California as a stockbroker. He spent ten years in the brokerage business.

1988 - Ornstein's entrée into the aviation business came when he helped raised money for small California commuter Air LA, and then joined the company. 1989 - Joined Mesa as head of scheduling and planning. Under his watch, Mesa acquired the assets of Aspen Airways, Air Midwest and West Air. He served as president of West Air, and returned to Mesa in October 1993, as executive vice-president. 1994 - In July, joined Continental Express as president and chief executive officer. In November. 1996 - For Richard Branson, developed and served as president and chief executive of Brussels-based low-fare carrier Virgin Express. 1998 - Assumed a seat on the board of directors of Mesa Air Group. Became chief executive in May 1998, later adding the posts of president and chairman of the board. He remains chief executive and chairman of the board. Ornstein lives in Phoenix with his wife and two children. He enjoys motorcycles and basketball, which he plays six times a week.

Source: Airline Business