The new management at Mesa Air Group have seen off a potential shareholder rebellion after the defeat of a vote on proposals to hire an investment banker to explore a merger or sale of the regional airline operation.

The proposal, tabled at the annual shareholders meeting on 28 July, effectively amounted to a vote of confidence for the new senior management team, now headed by chief executive Jonathan Ornstein.

The final vote went heavily in favour of the new directors, with only 8% of shareholders pushing for the merger or sale option. All of the new board appointments were also waved through at the meeting.

Ornstein's interest in Mesa emerged in January when he and long-standing partner Jim Swigart, now the group's vice-chairman, helped lead a group of investors to take a 5% stake in the US regional airline. Ornstein at the time was still chief executive of European low-cost carrier Virgin Express, a post now held by Swigart.

The move came as Mesa was struggling with losses after failing to renew its agreement to act as a United Express feeder. The group set aside $72 million to cover the closure of its WestAir Commuter division and restructuring of the Mesa Airlines operations, which ceases to work for United Airlines at the end of September.

Better news came last month, however, as Mesa signed a new six-year code-share pact with America West Airlines, reversing a deteriorating partnership.

Source: Flight International