Mesa Airlines (YV, Phoenix Sky Harbor) took delivery of its first B737-800(BDSF), namely N326FL (msn 28326), and plans to induct it into CMI operations for DHL Express in March 2023.

The 21.2-year-old aircraft is owned by DHL Worldwide Express and was converted at Tianjin before being ferried back to the United States (via Ciudad Acuna International to Cincinnati International) on December 22, 2022, Flightradar24 ADS-B data shows. After a period of storage, the aircraft was reactivated for a certification flight to Memphis International and back on February 13, 2023.

"We expect it to enter service in March. This brings our total cargo fleet to three B737-400(F)s and one next-gen B737-800," Chairman and Chief Executive of parent Mesa Air Group Jonathan Ornstein said during a recent investors call.

The B737-800 is Mesa Airlines' largest aircraft. Under a five-year agreement with DHL, it currently operates three B737-400(SF)s of which two are owned by the integrator, while the third is leased directly by Mesa Airlines from KF Cargo (FK, Kelowna), the ch-aviation fleets ownership module shows. Ornstein said the -800(BDSF) would increase the scope of the contract to four aircraft. The airline is now in talks with DHL about the likely replacement of its only non-DHL-owned B737-400(SF) with another -800.

"We haven't been particularly pleased with the aircraft and [have] ongoing conversations with DHL to potentially replace that aircraft, maybe with a newer -800. We are going to add the fourth airplane, [and then] we'll look to figure out what we're going to do with N708DA (msn 24769)," Ornstein said.

The airline historically operated as a regional capacity provider for mainline passenger airlines and remains an important partner of United Airlines (UA, Chicago O'Hare) for which it operates eighty E175s under the United Express banner with forty CRJ900s due. The CRJs currently operate on behalf of American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) but the loss-making partnership is scheduled to end on April 3, 2023. The airline previously said it had found buyers for its surplus CRJ900s and their engines, generating USD70 million in cash and reducing USD90 million of debt.

"We expect to operate our current 24 lines of flying with American through February 28 before reducing flights throughout March and ceasing American operations on April 3. We will begin operating CRJ900s for United on March 3 and will transition all the flying by May. As previously mentioned, United is covering the expenses to reconfigure and rebrand the CRJ900 aircraft," Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer Brad Rich said.