MESABA AIRLINES says that it is in favour of the possible purchase of fellow Northwest Airlink regional airline Express Airlines I by Northwest Airlines. Minneapolis-based Mesaba was commenting on speculation that Northwest, which owns a one-third stake in Mesaba, is negotiating to acquire the Atlanta, Georgia-based regional air carrier.

"We believe that, should a transaction between Northwest and Express Airlines I occur, it could have a positive effect on Mesaba's future growth," the carrier says. Express Airlines I operates Saab 340s and AI(R) Jetstream 31s, feeding Northwest flights at its Memphis, Tennessee, and Minneapolis, Minnesota, hubs. It is reported that the regional airline would not become part of Mesaba, but would instead become a separate Northwest subsidiary.

It is reported that Great Lakes Aviation, a United Express regional feeder, is having difficulty paying lenders because of cash-flow problems caused by weather-related flight cancellations. It hopes to postpone debt payments.

Source: Flight International