January was lean month for go!
Despite cutting fares by 41 percent in the final days of the month, Mesa Air Group Inc. reported yesterday that it flew the fewest number of passengers in January since entering the Hawaii market in June 2006.
Go! carried 43,763 passengers in January, down 17.8 percent from 53,208 in the year-earlier period. The previous low for passengers was 49,506 in February 2007.
Jonathan Ornstein, chairman and chief executive of Mesa, said the lower passenger total was due to reduced flights.
"As we gained some experience in the market, we had some seasonable adjustments and reduced some flying during this low season," he said.
But Ornstein said he is planning added capacity for March and plans to increase it even further during the summer, when he begins using a fifth CRJ-200 that now is being kept as a backup. Go! currently is operating with four 50-seat CRJ-200s.
"The competition that go! has brought to the marketplace has resulted in greater capacity by our competitors which, along with go!, has served the consumer well in that it has kept fares low," Ornstein said.
Mesa, which is once again offering $49 as its lowest one-way interisland fare, cut the fare briefly at the end of January to $29 for travel through February. Go!, Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines all had raised their lowest fares to $49 -- up $10 -- in early January.
Despite the drop in passengers, go! load factor last month was virtually flat year-over year at 58.36 percent, and nearly identical to the 58.41 percent in January 2007. Go!'s available seat miles -- one seat transported one mile -- fell 14.6 percent to 11.02 million from 12.9 million.
Go!'s revenue passenger miles -- one paying passenger transported one mile -- dropped 15.4 percent to 6.43 million from 7.6 million.
Mesa also said that go!'s on-time performance rate was 92.5 percent and its overall completion factor was 99.9 percent.
For the overall company, Mesa's load factor in January was 67.67 percent, down 1.6 percent from 68.75 percent a year ago.