Mesa Airlines, Inc. and Southern Airways Express have launched the Mesa-Southern Pilot Cadet Training Program, a newly-formed partnership providing career progression for Southern Airways pilots and a pipeline to future employment for qualified candidates at Mesa Airlines. The five-year agreement will provide up to $15,000 in combined forgivable loans to Cadets and allow them to accrue Mesa longevity while flying for Southern.

New hire first officer cadets with fewer than 1,000 flight hours will receive a $10,000 loan from Mesa and, upon reaching 1,000 hours and upgarding to captain, a $5,000 loan from Southern.

Current Souther First Officers will remain full-time pilots at Southern until they reach 1,800 flight hours, or at least 550 hours as a Captain , whichever is first. Cadets will begin accruing longevity for both pay, vacation and employee travel purposes at Mesa upon enrolling in the program.

"Southern Airways is excited to join Mesa in this innovative partnership which will provide a full-career pathway to new pilots at two of the fastest-growing airlines in the United States," said Stan Little, chairman and CEO of Southern. "Since both companies operate hubs at Dallas-Fort Worth and Washignton-Dulles, this alliance is a natural fit."

Mesa recently announced the expansion of its partnership with United Airlines with the addition of 12 new Embraer 175 aircraft scheduled for delivery in 2017. These aircraft will bring Mesa's E175 fleet count to 60 and the Company's total number of large regional jets to 145. Mesa's United Express fleet will total 80 aircraft, including 20 CRJ700s and the company's American Eagle fleet comprises 64 Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft.