Mesa Air Group posts 40% gain in third quarter
The Phoenix-based carrier plans to begin flying interisland in '06
Mesa Air Group Inc., which plans to begin operating an independent interisland airline in Hawaii during the first quarter of 2006, said yesterday its third-quarter net income soared 40 percent to $15 million from $10.7 million a year earlier.
Revenue increased 18.9 percent to $309.1 million from $260.1 million.
The Phoenix-based regional carrier also announced plans yesterday to buy back 10 million, or 21 percent, of its shares.
Through the first nine months of 2006, Mesa's net income more than doubled to $56.9 million from $26.3 million with revenue up 26.7 percent to $1.1 billion from $896.8 million.
Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa's chairman and chief executive, said the airline's operational flexibility, high quality and low cost focus, and work force led to the year-to-date record numbers.
"These attributes will allow us to successfully compete for future growth opportunities as the major airlines continue to restructure," he said.
The regional carrier, which operates flights for other airlines, plans to offer interisland service to Honolulu; Hilo and Kona on the Big Island; Lihue, Kauai; and Kahului, Maui. Mesa said it will use 50-seat jets to start and hopes to eventually transition to 90-seat jets as its business expands.
Last month, Mesa announced fares for those interisland routes that range from $43 to $85.50 for one-way trips and from $86 to $171 for round trips.
Mesa's arrival in the Hawaii market would serve as a direct threat to Hawaiian and Aloha airlines. In a recent six-day hearing in Aloha's bankruptcy reorganization case, the additional competition of Mesa was included in arguments on whether Aloha should be allowed to terminate the labor contracts of its pilots and flights attendants.
The flight attendants have since reached a tentative agreement and federal Bankruptcy Judge Robert Faris has taken the pilots' matter under advisement.