Mesa Air to start flying in China
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 22, 2006

 Partnership to form new Beijing Airlines

Dawn Gilbertson

First Hawaii, now China.

Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group said it plans to create a Chinese commuter airline in partnership with Shenzen Airlines, a Chinese carrier.

Mesa CEO Jonathan Ornstein made the announcement in Beijing today. He had earlier said they were exploring opportunities in China's rapidly growing economy.

The new airline, to be called Beijing Airlines, will start service within 12 months using 50-seat regional jets, the company said in a statement. The country currently has only 70 regional jets in operation, flying for seven carriers.

Beijing Airlines said it plans to serve a host of cities, including Shenzen, Beijing, Nanjing and Xiamen. The new airline plans to have 20 jets in service prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Shenzen was founded in 1992 and operates a fleet of 45 Airbus and Boeing aircraft in mainland China and Southeast Asia.

Earlier this year, Mesa started an interisland carrier in Hawaii called Go!.

Passenger loads have been lighter than projected. Ornstein blamed an increase in flights by competitors in retaliation for the new service.