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Thu, Oct 09, 2008

Mesa Reaches Tentative Deal With Pilots

Next Goes To Rank-And-File For Ratification Vote

Mesa Air Group has reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with its pilots after only 10 months of negotiations, according to a joint release from the airline and the Air Line Pilots Association.

This agreement, if ratified, will resolve many of the scheduling-related issues between Mesa and the pilot group, as well as provide tangible benefits to both parties and their codeshare partners, investors and passengers.

"Our employees are the cornerstone of our business," said Jonathan Ornstein, Mesa Air Group Chairman and CEO. "The pilots of Mesa are consummate professionals; they continue to go above and beyond to ensure that our operations run as smoothly as possible seven days a week, 365 days a year. We are proud to have come to a mutually-beneficial agreement with the pilot leadership that will help retain and attract the highest caliber of professional airline pilots for years to come. This tentative agreement represents a commitment by the company and the pilot group to work together and continue to get the job done for our partners, investors and passengers."

The Mesa pilots' contract became amendable in September 2007. Facing an industry in crisis due to a slowing economy and skyrocketing fuel prices, company management and the pilot leadership decided to commence an expedited negotiation process. This unconventional bargaining method resulted in a short-term agreement with scheduling and quality of life improvements, including more days off, a true definition of scheduled or actual, and implementation of a Preferential Bidding System (PBS) that will allow the pilots to have more control over their schedules.

"This contract represents a new beginning for our pilots and our company," said Captain Kevin Wilson, chairman of the ALPA unit at Mesa. "To be a successful, viable company in today's challenging marketplace, we recognized that we must put aside our differences and develop real-world solutions benefiting both the pilots and the company. We are pleased with management's willingness to engage with us in earnest discussions throughout the negotiations process, and we hope that this spirit of cooperation continues so that we can focus on building a better airline together."

The pilot leadership and the Negotiating Committee will soon begin a series of "roadshows" to inform the pilot group of the contents of the tentative Agreement and address any pilot questions. It's then up to the rank-and-file pilots to vote on whether or not this TA becomes the next collective bargaining agreement.

The vote is expected to open in mid-November. Results of the pilot vote are expected to be announced in late November.

FMI: www.mesa-air.com, www.alpa.org

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