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2010 Mesa Airlines Bankruptcy

Updated: Oct 16, 2023

The final straw was Mesa losing the Delta Connection contract. The company was already sitting on several idled airliners, and having thirty-six more being added to that list was too much of a financial burden. In early 2010, the company filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code.

Before the bankruptcy filing, Mesa owned 44 airplanes and leased another 134 for a total of 178 aircraft. The bankruptcy allowed Mesa to abandon 21 of its owned aircraft and rejected 96 leases, of which 13 of them were leased again under an amended contract. The new, slimmer Mesa would operate 77 aircraft, while the Dash 8s, the Embraers 145s and nearly all of the CRJ-200s were gone. The BE-1900s had already been disposed of back in 2008 when Air Midwest was shuttered.

Many of the lease holders had trouble selling or finding new lessors for the airplanes and eventually at least four Dash 8s, seven EMB-145s, and 31 of the CRJ-200s were scrapped and most of the rest of them were stored. The Mesa stockholders kept Jonathan Ornstein and Mike Lotz in their current positions, and they immediately began to rebuild their codeshare agreements with US Airways and United Airlines. Mesa also got rid of their flight school programs, their crew hotel in Phoenix (The Del Rio Lodge), and several of their other subsidiary companies.

Mesa also came out of bankruptcy as a privately held company, and about the same time as the bankruptcy filing the company stock was delisted from the NASDAQ exchange.

At least seven of the EMB-145s found a new home. thirteen were stored (see photo above), and six were scrapped (see photo below).

A Freedom Airlines EMB-145 being scrapped.

There was just no market for the CRJ-200s and at least 31 of them were scrapped.

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