MESA Airlines Wants to Depart

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Elaine Novak is finalizing  up her Doctors degree at ASU and flies out of Jonesboro for job interviews.

Linda Williams from Kennett flies often to visit relatives in Dallas.

Convenience and availability are two reasons that we fly. Jonesboro, situated so close to Memphis has a long history of not having an airline. Now Mesa, the only airline serving Northeast Arkansas wants to leave.

On January 21st Mesas' parent company Air MidWest officially requested to the Department Of Transportation permission to drop it's route in Arkansas. That route includes Dallas, El Dorado, Hot Springs and Jonesboro. The airline asks to drop the route on April 21, 2008.

Jonesboro Mayor Doug Formon was notified on the 21st but the Airport Commission has not received the official word yet from Airport Manager Philip Steed.

Having Mesa in Jonesboro is a great convenience for business and pleasure travelers. It means not having to travel to alternative airports such as Memphis or Little Rock.

A recent article in USA Today says that according to DOT statistics an average of only 5 people flew on Mesa per day in 2006. Wednesday's 3pm flight had exactly that many on board. Although Jonesboro Mayor Doug Formon says he has encountered fully booked aircraft and has had to take either a later flight or one on the next day.

Anticipating Mesas' departure airport commissioners have spoken with Congressman Marion Berry's office and have been assured that Jonesboro will have airline service till the end of 2008. Federal regulations say that under the DOT "Essential Air Service" program Mesa can not leave until another airline has been found that will take up the route.