MIAMI – Mesa Air Group, the parent company of Mesa Airlines (YV), announced this morning that it has entered into a five-year cargo contract with DHL Express Americas.

In the process, the airline will add two Boeing 737-400Fs to a new crew base in Cincinnati.

Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) serves as DHL Express Americas’ global hub, and Mesa expects to have the first 737 in service by October.

PHOTO: Jason Whitebird

Familiar Territory for Mesa

Contract flying is nothing new to Mesa; the carrier currently operates 145 aircraft (a mix of CRJ-700, CRJ-900, and E175) on behalf of United Airlines (UA) and American Airlines (AA) under their respective regional brands.

Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said that the company is “very excited to enter the cargo market and diversify our business. Flying under contract on behalf of DHL is essentially the same business model Mesa has operated under for over 20 years.”

There are many similar airlines in the US that operate on contract bases with major airlines, but Mesa is the first to enter the dedicated cargo market.

PHOTO: Mesa Airlines
(feature image also courtesy of Mesa)

Growth on the Horizon

Executive Vice President and COO Brad Rich commented on the company’s new growth, saying “We are proud to offer new opportunities to our employees as we enter the cargo industry. In particular, Mesa pilots will now have the ability to earn a 737 type rating and receive the highest pay in the regional industry, all without leaving the company.”

Ornstein added that “Cargo transport plays a critical role in the health of communities and economies around the world. Mesa is well-suited for this new mission, and this is just the beginning of what we believe will be a long and productive relationship with DHL.”

Even with the airline industry not exactly being in the ideal state to start a new venture, Mesa is confident that their new agreement with DHL will be a success.

In the end, the transition from passenger regional jet flying to cargo mainline jet flying will be interesting to observe, as well as the potential for other regional airlines to obtain similar contracts if the DHL-Mesa flying goes well.