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American Airlines To Cut Ties With Mesa Airlines in March 2023

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James Larounis
James Larounis's image

James Larounis

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James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in...

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American Airlines will be cutting ties with regional partner Mesa Airlines in March 2023 due to the operational performance of the airline. While the cut will remove Mesa from operating on behalf of American Eagle, American will still have 6 other regional partners, including Envoy, Piedmont, PSA, Republic, SkyWest, and soon-to-be Air Wisconsin.

Why Is American Dropping Mesa?

In a memo to employees, American executives cite financial and operational performance issues as the main reason for letting Mesa go, however, Mesa rebutted this argument by claiming that American hasn’t provided enough funding for increased pilot wages, and as a result, there were financial and operational challenges due to a lack of resources. Mesa believes it is losing $5 million a month due to American’s issues, however, it’s worth noting that American is the one to be dropping Mesa and not the other way around.

American Airlines CRJ 900
American will soon be dropping Mesa Airlines from its regional flying. Image Credit: Bombardier

Whatever the real reason, as of March 2023, Mesa will no longer be flying for American, however, you can expect this wind-down to happen over the next few months in anticipation of a hard cutover in March. Mesa flies CRJ-900 aircraft, which are meant for busier regional routes since they feature a larger first class and economy class cabin.

Hot Tip: Previous routes served by Mesa include Phoenix (PHX) to cities like Palm Springs (PSP), Burbank (BUR), and Albuquerque (ABQ), or Dallas (DFW) departures to places like Oklahoma City (OKC), Tulsa (TUL), and Houston (IAH).

Mesa’s planes primarily fly under the American Eagle flag in Dallas (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX), and these planes will soon fly under the United Express flag in both Denver (DEN) and Houston (IAH). United will be keeping its contract with Mesa, and Mesa will soon exclusively fly for United after the American break-up.

What Impact Will This Have on Passengers?

This likely will have little impact on flyers, except for the fact that American is losing more planes with first class cabins. American recently announced a partnership with Air Wisconsin which operates CRJ-200 planes, however, these aircraft are much smaller than Mesa’s CRJ-900s, and do not feature a premium cabin. While American’s route network is likely to stay the same, or similar to today, the loss is primarily for passengers who enjoy flying up front.

Final Thoughts

This certainly isn’t the first shakeup we’ve seen between a legacy carrier and a regional airline, and we’ll likely for sure see more in the years to come, though it’s always unfortunate when there’s a breakup such as this as it could potentially lead to dropped routes or other negative customer service impacts over the years.

James Larounis's image

About James Larounis

James (Jamie) started The Forward Cabin blog to educate readers about points, miles, and loyalty programs. He’s spoken at Princeton University and The New York Times Travel Show and has been quoted in dozens of travel publications.

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