Mesa Air Group announces new partnership with United Airlines to come March 2023

Mesa Air Group has announced it will be ending its partnership with American Airlines and will...
Mesa Air Group has announced it will be ending its partnership with American Airlines and will be moving forward with United in March 2023.(Julio Cortez | AP)
Published: Dec. 19, 2022 at 12:37 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Mesa Air Group has announced that it is stepping away from their agreement with American Airlines and will be starting a five-year partnership with United Airlines.

The group said that its partnership with American Airlines was unprofitable, as it was driven by higher pilot wages and blocked hour penalties by the pilot shortage. This new five-year agreement would put the associated planes into United Express operations and will cover all Mesa’s flights with the possibility of using larger planes in the future.

Mesa Air Group will end all operations with American on April 3, 2023, with new United planes transferring in March 2023 while still using all of its crew and maintenance locations previously operating on American Airlines aircraft. Mesa Air also plans to open a new crew base in Houston and a pilot base in Denver, with others to possibly come in the future.

“Our relationship with American began in 1992 when Mesa initiated flying as a codeshare partner with America West after investing in its reorganization,” said Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa Air Group chairman and CEO. “Over the last 30 years, we’ve been through a lot together and we will always appreciate the opportunity to work as America West Express, US Air Express, and American Eagle.”

Ornstein said it was a win-win for both Mesa and United since it will add more than 100 regional jet flights into the United network. “Current and future pilots at Mesa will benefit from the anticipated new agreement with United, which is poised to offer the best combination of the highest pay rates and fastest career path to a major airline in the industry,” he said.

The leftover 8 CRJ-550s will be transferred to United and will sell 11 extra aircraft to a third party buyer, cutting down on Mesa Air Group’s debt.