Struggling US regional Mesa Air Group faces another challenge in sustaining its business as the time period for its partner United to exercise its option to renew the operation of 26 Bombardier CRJ200s by Mesa has expired.

Mesa earlier this year warned US regulators that the CRJ200 flying for United was at risk. United also on 29 October informed the regional it was exercising an early termination option for the operation of 10 Dash 8 turboprops. Mesa expects the wind down to occur by 30 April.

Mesa also believes the CRJ200s will also exit United's operations by that date. In August of this year the company explained that the combined Dash 8 and CRJ200 flying represented roughly 18% of its revenues.

United's decision to end the 50-seat jet flying supplied by Mesa is the latest setback for the Phoenix-based regional operator. At one point during the latter half of the year Mesa had two idle CRJ200s previously operated for US Airways, and 12 Embraer ERJ-145s previously operated for Delta Air Lines that were also inactive. Additionally the carrier had 20 Beech 1900D turboprops that were previously operated by its now defunct subsidiary Air Midwest.

Mesa is also in the midst of a legal dispute with Delta that relates to the operation of the remaining 22 ERJs in that particular agreement. Delta in July lost an appeal to block a preliminary injunction that prohibited Delta from removing the aircraft from its operations.

Delta sought to cut those aircraft from its network after it claimed Mesa's Freedom Airlines subsidiary failed to meet certain operational targets. Mesa contested Delta's right to eliminate the aircraft, and the preliminary injunction against their removal remains in place as the issue proceeds through a US district court.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news