New CRJ-900's


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New CRJ-900\'s

Mesa Air gets new 80-seat jet
Will be valuable in crowded hours

The newest addition to the world's regional jet fleet, the Bombardier CRJ-900, will begin flying out of Sky Harbor International Airport on Sunday.

Mesa Air Group Inc., a Phoenix-based regional airline, has taken delivery of the first CRJ-900 made by Bombardier Aerospace and will fly the 80-seat plane for America West Express.

"This is the first one in service anywhere in the world," Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein said.

The jet will be used for daily round-trip flights between Phoenix and Los Angeles, Phoenix and Long Beach and Phoenix and El Paso.

Mesa currently flies 50- and 64-seat regional jets for America West Express, the regional arm of Tempe-based America West Airlines.

Ornstein said the extra seats will be valuable during peak flying times, such as Sunday evenings, when flights are generally full. Being able to fly more passengers on the same flight will lower operating costs, he said.

The CRJ-900, made in Montreal, is designed for as many as 90 seats. But Mesa's jet has a six-person first-class section with larger seats and more legroom.

The plane is long and narrow, with less stand-up headroom than regular jets. But it also has only window and aisle seats, eliminating the middle seats that many passengers find uncomfortable.

"The biggest concern of business travelers is getting stuck in the middle seat," Ornstein said.

Mesa has ordered 25 of the jets over the next several years, and expects to receive 12 this year. The airline is leasing the planes, which cost $23 million each. All of the planes will be flown for America West, although Ornstein said a couple of other airlines have expressed interest in the jets.

But some airlines have clauses in their pilot contracts prohibiting them from flying regional jets with more than 50 seats. Pilot unions say such "scope clauses" prevent airlines from contracting out flying that their members should be doing.

A contract proposal rejected by America West Airlines pilots earlier this year would have limited the number of regional jets Mesa could fly for the carrier.

Regional jets have become popular in recent years for flying shorter routes to cities with too few passengers to fill larger planes, which seat more than 100 passengers. The CRJ-900 is a cross between the two airline types.

"It's a bridge between the small and large jets," Ornstein said. "We think this will be a successful aircraft."
Re: New CRJ-900\'s

Is Mesa flying the CR9s or will Freedumb err i mean Freedom
be operating them.
Re: New CRJ-900\'s

Freedom was formed in the first place because the US Air Alpa scope clause would not allow Alpa represented Mesa pilots fly these larger jets.
Anyway, the scope clause was removed allowing Mesa Alpa to fly the large jets. The Mesa'a pilots signed a new Tentative agreement w/ Mesa Management a couple of months ago, whereby Freedom pilots would be merged w/ Mesa pilots, and would become Alpa represented as well. The name Freedom still exists (because that was the name of the certificate for these news jets) but they are Alpa pilots now, and there is only one pilot group at Mesa.
There is still a list of the 100 pilots or so who went to Freedom (prior to being merged), but other than that, this is now a non-issue.
Re: New CRJ-900\'s

The US Airways SCOPE arguement was invalid. Yes they had SCOPE that would not allow us to fly the CR9 anywhere, but their pilots were more than willing to change it to help us out.

Management, however, never asked. It was too juicy of an excuse.

Freedom is now a shrinking arm of the Mesa Air Group. Their 6 CR9s will be moved to the Mesa certificate, and already 3 of their 13 CR7s have been moved.

Just hope that you never get stuck in a mess like this, and don't think that it won't be seen again at another carrier.