Mesa Airlines Cancels Agreement With American Airlines, Joins United

Photo: American Eagle CRJ900. Phot Credit: By Acroterion - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

LONDON – US Regional carrier Messa Airline has announced in a memo to its employees that it will be cancelling its agreement with American Airlines and moving all of its CRJ900s to fly for United Airlines.

American And Messa PartWays

American Eagle is a network of six regional carriers operating around 3,400 daily flights across the US under a codeshare agreement with American, with the services often being focused on smaller regional cities. Three of these six carriers are subsidiaries of American Airlines while the others are contracted carriers such as Mesa

Mesa Airlines is only 40 years old and has been a long-term operator for the American Airlines regional brand, American Eagle, however, the airline has confirmed today that after months of negotiations it appears both American and Messa have agreed it is time for them to move on, with the carrier going on to confirm that they will be moving their entire CRJ900 fleet to United airlines’ regional group, United Express in the new year.

In the memo released to their employees, Mesa stated the reasons behind their decision to move to United, saying: “first, let me give you a little background. Over the last few years there has been a brewing pilot shortage, initially masked by Covid and later exacerbated by the early retirement of thousands of senior pilots at the major carriers.”

“In response, American significantly raise regional pilot wages for their wholly owned subsidiaries to deter pilots from going to national carriers and attract pilots from the ever-shrinking pool of qualified pilot applicants.”

“Unfortunately, as a result of their claim of “limited resources”, American chose not to fund the higher pilot rates for their non-affiliated carriers.”

American Airlines responded to these claims in its own internal memo to its employees, stating: “One of our regional partners, Mesa Airlines, has experienced various financial and operational difficulties this year. As a result, we have concerns about Mesas’s ability to be a reliable partner for American going forward.”

“American and Mesa agree the best way to address these concerns is to wind down our agreement, which is focused on our DFW (Dallas Fort Worth) and PHX (Phoneix) hubs.”

It would appear that the two carriers have hit somewhat of an impasse over the last few months, with the ultimate outcoming being their joint decision to cancel their agreement.

Mesa did also take a swing at American saying “At the same time, we were being penalized for not producing the required block hour under our pre-Covid contract with American.”

“These two actions were costing us approximately $5 million in losses per month. As a result, we have concerns about Americans’ ability to be a reliable partner going forward.”

New Carriers Ready To Fill Void

American Airlines does then move on to say that they already are planning their regional operations for 2023 and beyond, with the carrier moving on to say: “Envoy and PSA recently announced new crew bases at PHX and DFW, respectively.”

“Additionally, SkyWest will continue to fly out of PHX and DFW, and Air Wisconsin is preparing to join the American Eagle family earlier than planned.”

It is understood that any loss of services from Mesa will be backfield by the carriers mentioned above, which would leave the impression that American Airlines doesn’t expect there to be any long-lasting or negative effects on the decision of Mesa to leave and join United Express.

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