Jonathan Ornstein, whose Mesa airline group has 55 Beech 1900s in service, says Raytheon must renegotiate its leases if 1900D operations are to be sustained. "We have to get Raytheon to come to grips with the fact the aircraft is no longer a $35,000 per month aircraft," he adds, citing $10,000 as a more acceptable figure.

"Raytheon is in a tough position now because, frankly, they don't want the write-off," he adds. "But all the 1900 operators are on the verge. We [Mesa] are only fine because we have the [regional] jets. At some point, everyone will have to face the music on the 1900s."

Another 1900D operator, Great Lakes Aviation, has joined the Regional Airline Partnership (RAP), formed by Ornstein and Mesa as a rival lobbying group to the US Regional Airlines Association (RAA). Ornstein says RAP will push Raytheon to lower its lease rates, an action he believes is necessary for the survival of 19-seat operations in the USA.

"I got frustrated at the RAA and their Washington lobbying efforts. I opposed the [Federal Aviation Administration] part 121 transition which I knew was the death knell of the 19-seaters and the same for the 30-seaters," says Ornstein. "We are literally looking at all 19-seat operators going away and no-one is doing anything about it," he adds.

Source: Flight International