Mesaba Airlines filed for bankruptcy Thursday, following the lead of its corporate parent Northwest Airlines. The regional carrier operates as Northwest Airlink and serves several Iowa cities, including Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Mason City, Sioux City, Waterloo and Cedar Rapids. Mesaba president John Spanjers was asked which cities might see cuts in service. Spanjers says “I would have to defer that to Northwest Airlines. As part of our business arrangement with Northwest Airlines, they really dictate the schedule and the frequencies and we are the capacity provider.” Industry officials say Mesaba’s filing should have little impact on air travelers and NO flights are being canceled at the moment. Northwest filed bankruptcy in mid-September and reportedly missed or made partial payments to Mesaba. Spanjers says Mesaba will lay off 70 employees by November 1st and another 150 by early January. He says “The changes imposed on us have left Mesaba with a cost structure that is unsupportable and must be repaired immediately if the company is to remain a participant in the airline industry. Simply put, in a matter of weeks our fleet and our anticipated revenues have been cut drastically while our costs have remained the same.” Northwest plans to reduce its fleet by at least 28 percent. Mesaba is the 8th largest regional airline in the U.S. and provides service to more than 100 cities.
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