Freedom Airlines Pilot Wing 1st Issue
Irvine, TX 2002-2010
The airline was established in March 2002 and started operations in October 2002. The airline was started so that Mesa Air Group could fulfill its contractual obligations to operate the CRJ-900 as America West Express for America West Airlines. Establishing Freedom was necessary as Mesa Airlines was also operating as US Airways Express. US Airways' collective bargaining agreement with the Air Line Pilots Association prohibited contract carrier code share arrangements with regional jet carriers, if that carrier operated aircraft with more than 70 seats. Mesa Airlines, therefore, could not operate as US Airways Express and operate the CRJ-900. Once US Airways' pilot scope limitation was relaxed, Mesa transferred the operation of all of Freedom's jets to Mesa Airlines. In October 2005, Freedom Airlines began operations as Delta Connection. In May 2010, a federal judge ruled against regional carrier Mesa Air Group in the long-running dispute with Delta Air Lines over the larger carrier's right to cancel a regional jet service contract. On August 31, 2010, the last flight for Freedom Airlines operated.