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Mesa Airlines files for IPO

US regional carrier Mesa Airlines has registered documents for an initial public offering.

The Phoenix-based operator has filed an S1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to come to market with its first sale of public equity, though it discloses neither the amount the IPO will raise nor the date by which the transaction should close.

As of 31 March, Mesa operated a fleet of 145 aircraft, including 64 Bombardier CRJ900s under a capacity-purchase agreement with American Airlines, plus 20 CRJ700s and 60 Embraer 175s under such a deal with United Airlines, the prospectus says. These partnerships have helped drive significant growth for the airline, adds Mesa.

During the past five years, the airline's share of the total regional fleets of American and United has increased from 7% to 11% and from 4% to 15%, respectively. As a result, Mesa's operating revenue has grown 55%, from $415 million in fiscal 2013 to $643 million in fiscal 2017.

"We believe we have expanded our share with our major airline partners because of our competitive cost structure, access to pilots under our labour agreements and track record of reliable performance," says the airline. "All of our operating revenue in our 2017 fiscal year and the six months ended 31 March 2018 was derived from operations associated with our American and United capacity-purchase agreements."

Raymond James and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are underwriting the deal, as well as Cowen, Stifel and Imperial Capital.

If concluded, Mesa will be the first US airline to do an IPO since Virgin America in 2014.

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