PHOENIX Mesa Air will shut down subsidiary carrier Air Midwest, cutting off service to 16 small cities in 10 states because of soaring fuel prices, the company said Wednesday.
Phoenix-based Mesa Air Group Inc. said the cuts will begin next week and be completed by June 30. The cities belong to the federal government's Essential Air Service program, which subsidizes flights on routes that would otherwise be unprofitable.
"Unfortunately under the current economic conditions there was no foreseeable way to achieve sustained profitability," said Jonathan Ornstein, CEO of Mesa Air Group.
Soaring oil and jet-fuel prices already have contributed to the shutdown this year of Skybus Airlines and forced ATA Airlines and Aloha Airlines out of business. Frontier Airlines has entered bankruptcy restructuring. Champion Air said it would cease operations and MAXjet Airways did so in December.
Cities losing Air Midwest service include DuBois and Franklin, Pa.; Lewisburg, W.Va.; Athens, Ga.; Ely, Nev.; Merced and Visalia, Calif.; Prescott and Kingman, Ariz.; Farmington, N.M.; Columbia, Joplin and Kirksville, Mo., Grand Island and McCook, Neb., and Little Rock, Ark.