After the 2010 bankruptcy, Jonathan Ornstein was encouraged by a board member, who worked for Southern Air, to join the Southern Air board of directors. Southern was a contract carrier for DHL Express cargo. In 2019, Mesa submitted a proposal (which was accepted) to DHL to operate Boeing 737s for DHL Express. Mesa began proving runs for the Boeings in July 2020 and started training pilots that October.
DHL Express is a package carrier with a hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport located southwest of Cincinnati just across the Ohio River and near Covington, Kentucky (thus the airport code CVG). CVG is where the “sort” is located, which is the facility where all of the DHL Express air carriers converge in the early morning hours and park while the company sorts the packages and then loads the airplanes for their trip out to their destinations. Currently, Mesa operates four routes for DHL (five cities), one from Cincinnati to Memphis, CVG to Salt Lake City, CVG to Minneapolis/St. Paul, and the one from Cincinnati to Omaha, Nebraska with an intermediate stop in St. Louis, MO.
Currently, Mesa had sold the CRJ-700s to United Airlines and ceased the American partnership and is down to three aircraft types and two airline partners: the Embraer E-175 jets and the Canadair CRJ-900s flying for United Express, and the Boeing 737s flying for DHL Express air cargo. It is a much different company than the one that started forty-three years earlier flying a single-engine, six-seat Piper Saratoga between Farmington and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Captain Ken Allen stands in front of a Mesa Boeing 737.
Mesa operates four Boeing 737-400s, and one 737-800NG for DHL Express. Another 737-800 is due to be delivered next year.
The interior of the Boeing 737 cargo jet preparing for freight loading.