Mesa Air Would Be Interested in Buying US Airways' Assets


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Mesa Air Would Be Interested in Buying US Airways\' Assets

Dow Jones Business News
Mesa Air Would Be Interested in Buying US Airways' Assets
Tuesday January 13, 2:58 pm ET
By Elizabeth Souder

NEW YORK -- Mesa Air Group Inc. (NasdaqNM:MESA - News) Chief Executive Jonathan Ornstein said the regional airline is considering buying assets from US Airways Group Inc. (NasdaqNM:UAIR - News) .

US Air confirmed last week it hired investment bank Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MWD - News) to develop scenarios to get the airline back into the black. Those include selling gates, routes, planes, aircraft delivery positions, regional jet operations, the airline's shuttle service, and assets at some hubs, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Ornstein told Dow Jones Newswires he is considering all possibilities, but wants to remain a US Air partner, rather than a competitor. Mesa currently operates regional flights on behalf of US Air.

"We certainly hope that US Airways doesn't have to sell any assets," Mr. Ornstein said. But if the airline must sell, "we would certainly be a likely candidate for opportunities."

The Wall Street Journal reported last week that US Airways, which recently emerged from bankruptcy protection, is pitching its US Airways Shuttle service, which operates hourly flights between Washington, New York and Boston, along with slots in the three cities. US Airways is also pitching its regional operations along with its aircraft and aircraft orders, and US Airways is looking for buyers for assets at hubs in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Charlotte, N.C.

Mr. Ornstein said Mesa isn't ruling out any possibilities, meaning the airline may consider buying not just the regional operations, but hub assets or the shuttle operation, which Mesa might operate as a partner, on behalf of US Airways.

"Anything we do would be in cooperation with US Airways," Mr. Ornstein said.

Mr. Ornstein said such acquisitions wouldn't force the airline to go to the markets for more capital. "Mesa is very well capitalized," he said. "I don't foresee that requirement at this point."

Other airlines, including Continental Airlines Inc. (NYSE:CAL - News) and JetBlue Airways Corp. (NasdaqNM:JBLU - News) , wouldn't comment on whether they are considering the US Airways assets.

The airline would need the agreement of the Air Transport Stabilization Board, the federal panel that provided $900 million in loan guarantees to back the carrier's $1 billion bankruptcy-exit financing, in order to sell anything, The Wall Street Journal reported.

- Elizabeth Souder, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-4148


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Re: Mesa Air Would Be Interested in Buying US Airways\' Assets

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