East Meets West In A Booming Chinese Aviation Market
Mesa announced last week it
has signed a joint venture agreement with China's Shenzhen Airlines
to create a regional airline serving the Chinese market. The
partnership has yet to name the carrier to be.
The new airline will initially operate 50-seat regional jets on
domestic routes serving Shenzhen, Beijing, Chongqing, Xiamen,
Nanjing, Kunming, Dalian, Shenyang, Xian, Zhengzhou and Nanning.
Scheduled service is expected within 12 months.
Officials expect to have 20 50-seat regional jets in service
prior to the Beijing Olympic games in 2008, growing to more than
100 planes within five years, comprising a mix of 50, 70 and
90-seat regional aircraft.
Said Mesa Air Group Chairman and CEO, Jonathan Ornstein, "We are
delighted and privileged to be the first US passenger airline to
form a strategic alliance to create a new airline to operate in The
People's Republic of China. We at Mesa look forward to making a
positive contribution to the development of the regional airline
industry in China and to forging a strong, long-term relationship
with our friends at Shenzhen Airlines."
To get the new carrier off the ground Mesa will provide
significant technical capability, including pilot, maintenance and
operations support and training, as well as the sourcing of
"We see this new partnership as a great opportunity to continue
growing our business and further diversify our airline operations,"
added Ornstein. "With a population of more than 1.2 billion people,
China is the world's fastest growing air travel market. There are
currently 134 airports with plans to grow that number to 200 over
the next ten years. Furthermore, 40 of the 50 largest airports have
expansion projects underway or planned."
Shenzhen Airlines President Li Kun said, "Today represents an
important milestone for our company as through this joint venture
we extend our service to many smaller communities throughout the
country. Mesa's experience and reputation as a leader in the
regional airline industry make it the perfect choice to partner
with us in launching this new regional airline."
Mesa currently operates 199 aircraft with over 1,300 daily
system departures to 173 cities, 43 states, Canada, Mexico and the
Bahamas. Mesa operates as America West Express, Delta Connection,
US Airways Express and United Express under contractual agreement
with America West, Delta Air Lines, US Airways and United Airlines,
respectively, and independently as Mesa Airlines.
In June this year Mesa launched an inter-island Hawaiian service
called go! The carrier links Honolulu to the neighbor island
airports of Hilo, Kahului, Kona, and Lihue.
With 5,000 employees, Mesa is a member of the Regional Airline
Association and Regional Aviation Partners. The Company was named
2005 Regional Airline of the Year by Air Transport World
Shenzhen Airlines operates a fleet of 45 new-generation A320 and
B737 aircraft on 100 routes within mainland China and South East
Asia. The company has carried nearly 5.3 million passengers this
year, employs 6300 people, and is headquartered in the metropolis
of Shenzhen, in southern China's Guangdong Province.