Mesa Airlines is looking at the yet-to-be-launched Bombardier Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) 900 as part of a wider proposed order being discussed with the Canadian manufacturer. The carrier is also considering increasing the size of its planned EmbraerRJ-145 fleet and wants quicker deliveries of jets on order.


The Phoenix-based carrier plans to bolster its regional jet fleet to accommodate growth in feeder services for mainline partners US Airways and America West. US Airways' pilots' union has agreed to relax scope clause restrictions, allowing the addition of 35 regional jets with up to 50 seats, almost doubling the size of its fleet.

Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa chairman and president, says: "We are interested in larger aircraft. America West is one of the few carriers that has no scope clause restraints and we could put a larger aircraft on to the system."

Mesa operates 32 CRJ200s, all of which will be used for its America West Express operation once the ERJ-145s enter US Air Express service. Despite earlier strained relations with Bombardier, Mesa is considering increasing its CRJ fleet to 50 and is due to evaluate the new 70-seat version of the regional jet.

"The CRJ900 is a more interesting aircraft than the 700 in terms of economics; we're talking to Bombardier about it," says Ornstein. A decision could be made within the manufacturer's second quarter launch deadline, with a possible requirement for 20-25 jets.

Mesa has also asked Embraer to speed up delivery of the 36 ERJ-145s from one to two a month next year and in 2002. The first Brazilian 50-seater will be delivered by the end of the month and the deal includes options on 64 jets.

"I have indicated to Embraer that I would like to increase the size of my firm order from 36 to 50 jets," says Ornstein.

Mesa is allocated 28 of US Air's 38 permissible regional jets and hopes to expand that with the scope clause change.

Source: Flight International