Mesaba ends Avro RJ operations


Two Mesaba Avro RJ85s parked at Minneapolis-St Paul

Two Mesaba Avro RJ85s parked at Minneapolis-St Paul after being withdrawn from service (Alex Pan)

Mesaba operated its last Avro RJ85 services on the morning of 1 December, when three RJ85s that had overnighted at other airports returned to Detroit. The last ever Mesaba RJ85 revenue flight was NW3517 from Rochester to Detroit. The final withdrawal date for Mesaba’s RJ85s has shifted several times since bankrupt Northwest announced its intention to reject the leases on the aircraft in September 2005. At first, Northwest directed Mesaba to park all 35 RJ85s by 20 December 2005, and several were flown into storage at Marana. Most of the fleet remained in service, however, and by early 2006 the target retirement date had slipped to the latter half of 2006. In July, an agreement with lessors called for services to continue through December 2006. Since that time, the fleet has been gradually reduced, to 10 aircraft by late 2005. At that point, the last services were to have been flown 18 December. This was ultimately then brought forward to 1 December. The routes formerly operated by the RJ85s are currently being flown either by Pinnacle’s CRJs or by mainline DC-9s, though some have been dropped entirely. Without the RJ85s, for example, Northwest will be unable to operate its highly profitable ski season flights into Aspen.

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