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Mesa Airlines - The Long and Winding Road

Author: Dennis Reynolds

Mesa Airlines - The Long and Winding Road

You would be able to write a whole book about Mesa Airlines as it has such a large amount of history behind it. They worked very hard to increase the number of planes they have and the number of services in operation, just like any airline has to. It wasn't until the terrible events of September 11 2001 that Mesa Airlines really took control of their future. Since December of 2001, the company has enjoyed profitable quarters, even though they entered into a brief bankruptcy proceedings to reduce overhead and expenses. The leadership of the company has been outstanding and they really have earned their praise.

In 1980 Mesa Airlines were created by Larry and Jane Risley as a division of a company called JB Aviation. For over five years the airline had operations running from Albuquerque and New Mexico after changing its name to Mesa Air Shuttle in 1982. After some time the company relocated their main hub to Arizona and started looking for partners to share codes with. Most major and minor airlines still share code agreements and it's a very common practice within the airline industry. In 1992 Mesa Airlines completed a deal to share codes with America West Airlines and so they kept on moving.

In the beginning Mesa Airlines had just one plane that ran flights between two different cities. After 10 years of business, Mesa Airlines had 38 planes operating between 63 cities in the United States. Additionally they started to do trading on the stock exchange as they had moved over from being a private corporation. Midwest Express Airlines and Mesa Airways agreed to a partnership of code sharing. That partnership allowed Mesa to expand and serve passengers flying out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. United Airlines and Mesa went into partnership on code sharing, which saw the arrival of United Express chartering flights out of Denver.

Mesa formed a partnership with a major airline in 2003. The airline in question was the well known United Airlines. The meaning of this code share was to let Mesa Airlines spark up services running from a few new airports, like O'Hare in Chicago and Denver. Of course an entirely new marketing sub-brand was created, and it is called United Express Airlines. To this day United Express have only used Bombardier aircraft in their fleet. In late 2009, the Dash 8 aircraft were terminated from service, officially, which was just an option exercised. Mesa Airlines’ story is very typical of the airlines that has started from very modest beginnings. In order to make an airline truly successful you must spend a lot of time on it. Profits aren't always so great in this industry, and it's very responsive to business cycles. But those are the conditions which are accepted by airline pioneers who embark on this kind of challenge. The history of Mesa Airlines is a great example of how all businesses must do something about harsh economic times by using every available resource to them to make sure they keep going and making money.
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