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Sun, Apr 24, 2005

Mesaba To Lease 15 Regional Jets

New And Fast Rides

Mesaba Aviation announced Friday that it will lease 15 new Bombardier CRJ-200 jets from Northwest Airlines, starting in September. Mesaba will also have the right to operate the next 20 CRJs that Northwest orders according to a letter of intent signed by the two companies.

"This is a tremendous recognition of the men and women of Mesaba," said John Spanjers, Mesaba president and chief operating officer in a news release. "Through their performance and commitment to operational excellence, they have demonstrated to Northwest that we can competitively deliver consistent, cost-effective and high-quality service. We are delighted at the opportunity to grow our operations and expand our service offerings by introducing the CRJ to the fleet."

The CRJ-200s are powered by two General Electric CF34-3B1 turbofan engines and cruise at speeds up to 464 knots. The aircraft can transport a 50 passengers up to 1,915 nautical miles. The new jets have a maximum take-off weight of 53,000 pounds.

"This order demonstrates the appeal of the CRJ200 aircraft in providing quality, high frequency jet service in lower density regional markets," said Steven Ridolfi, President, Bombardier Regional Aircraft in a news release. "The CRJ200 offers superior performance, comfort and the best operating economics in the 50-seat jet class. In addition, the CRJ Series enjoys single family commonality from 44-seats right up to 90-seats."

Flying as Northwest Airlink, Mesaba will spend their own money to bring the new aircraft into service. It will also continue to operate Avro RJ85 and Saab 340 aircraft until the aircraft are removed from service. The service agreements for these aircraft are set to expire in 2007, but the letter of intent indicates that a new 10-year agreement is in work. Mesaba will be paid under current terms until March 2007. A new contract will take over based upon "the average operating margin of publicly held regional carriers, subject to a margin cap and floor," according to a release.

The news release also states that the letter of intent is non-binding. The detailed airline services agreement will need approval from all of the involved parties.

FMI: www.mesaba.com

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