ALPA's Communications Department provides information and support for news media inquiries. An ALPA communications representative can be reached in the Herndon, Va. office at (703) 481-4440.

News Release

Release #03.084
December 5, 2003

Atlantic Coast Pilots Ready to Fight Hostile Takeover; Caution Mesa Board That Proposed Merger Would Be Costly 

DULLES, VA -- The leaders of the Atlantic Coast Airlines (ACAI) pilot group have informed the Mesa Airlines (MESA) Board of Directors that its 1,600 ACA pilots oppose any takeover of their airline. 

In a letter to the Mesa board, Captain Stephen Hunt, chairman of the ACA unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, International, said his members strongly support ACA's plan to create a new low-cost carrier called Independence Air ( rather than be swallowed up by Mesa and remain a feeder carrier for United Airlines.

"Let me be crystal clear: the pilots of Atlantic Coast Airlines have absolutely no interest in being acquired by Mesa or deviating in any other way from our management's independent vision," Capt. Hunt said. "This hostile takeover is not in the best interest of ACA stakeholders and employees, and we will fight to the bitter end to avoid becoming yet another airline tossed in the Mesa graveyard."

Capt. Hunt's statement came less than a month after ACA pilots overwhelmingly voted to accept pay and work-rule changes aimed at making the new low-cost carrier more competitive. He noted that ACA pilots retain the sole right to terminate the concessionary agreement if Mesa takes over, making Mesa's proposed code-share agreement with United much more expensive.

"We genuinely question how the Mesa board could view this hostile transaction as being in the interests of Mesa stakeholders, and especially Mesa's pilots," he said. The full text of Captain Hunt's letter is available on the ALPA website at

Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Atlantic Coast Airlines is one of the leading operators of regional jets in the U.S., with more than 1,600 pilots and a current fleet of 142 aircraft, including 112 regional jets.

Founded in 1931, ALPA is the world's oldest and largest pilots union, representing 66,000 pilots at 42 airlines in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the ALPA web site at

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ALPA CONTACT: John Mazor  (703) 481-4440