US REGIONAL carrier Mesa Air Group plans to begin a high frequency, low-fare jet service from Fort Worth's Meacham Airport in Texas on 5 May, 1997. The service, which will be operated as Mesa Airlines, will use 13 of the 16 Bombardier Canadair Regional Jets ordered in August and will compete with Southwest Airlines' high frequency, low-fare operations out of neighbouring Dallas Love Field Airport.

No airlines operate from Meacham, says Mesa, and none of the planned destinations in Texas and neighbouring states are now served by any of the group's regional-airline divisions. Meacham is just 12min from downtown Forth Worth, Mesa notes.

While several of Mesa's divisions operate under codesharing agreements with major airlines, the Meacham-based operation will be an independent regional. Its 50-seat Regional Jets will carry the same Mesa Airlines livery as the group's independently operated Beech 1900s. The first three Regional Jets on order will be delivered to Mesa's Phoenix, Arizona-based Desert Sun Airlines division, which operates as America West Express.

Mesa holds options on a further 16 Regional Jets, but says no decision has been taken on whether to introduce the aircraft on its United Express and USAir Express code-share operations. The group is re-organising as it upgrades from Part 135 to Part 121 operations to comply with new US Federal Aviation Administration rules, and is centralising maintenance, training and operational control of its airline divisions.

Source: Flight International