Originally created 08/29/98

CCAIR to merge with Mesa Air Group



CCAIR, the company providing commuter airline service to Augusta as US Airways Express, announced Friday it plans to merge with Mesa Air Group.

Charlotte, N.C.-based CCAIR would be acquired at $5.40 per share as part of the tentative deal with Mesa Air, a Farmington, N.M. airline that also provides commuter service to US Airways.

The deal is valued at $60 million, including $15 million in assumed debts.

Service to Augusta will not change if the deal is approved by CCAIR's board of directors, according to Eric Montgomery, CCAIR's vice president of finance.

"The company would stay the same. It would just have different owners," Mr. Montgomery said. "The service won't change because of the merger."

Mr. Montgomery said it was too early to know how the merger would affect personnel in the company.

CCAIR, one of nine US Airways Express carriers, provides daily commuter service from Augusta to the US Airways hub in Charlotte.

Mesa Air Group, which is relocating its headquarters to Phoenix, provides jet commuter service to 100 cities in 29 states through US Airways and America West Airlines. The merger would increase that service area.

"CCAIR makes an excellent fit because of its Charlotte hub," said Jonathan Orstein, Mesa Air president and chief executive officer.

The merger is still subject to certain conditions, including the completion of mutual due diligence, the completion of an agreement of merger, and approval by regulators and shareholders.

CCAIR has sustained losses during recent quarters, which company officials attribute partially to an upgrade of its fleet.

"We believe the proposal by Mesa is a recognition of the successful efforts of the company's employees, affiliates, lessors and others who have worked hard to make possible the recent recovery in the company's profitability," said CCAIR President and Chief Executive Officer Ken Gann.

The deal benefits both companies equally, Mr. Montgomery said.

"I think the benefit to Mesa is that they are acquiring a company that has just gone through a restructuring and is positioned for the future. Mesa is a company with a better capital structure so they have more financial wherewithal than CCAIR. Plus they offer jet service," he said.

Mesa had revenue of $244.2 million for the six months ended March 30.

CCAIR, which reported revenue of $32.7 million for the six months ended June 30, operates 231 daily flights linking 27 communities in seven states throughout the Southeast.