How to get a job as a Pilot at Mesa Airlines

Mesa Airlines jet at the terminal

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    Learn what it takes to become a pilot at Mesa Airlines in this article.

    About Mesa Airlines

    Being founded by a family, Mesa airlines is known as a small family-owned airline. They are a regional airline that was founded in 1980 by Larry Risley and his wife Janie. As the name suggests, they are based out of Mesa Arizona.

    Mesa operates on behalf of American Airlines as American Eagle and United Airlines as United Express.  Mesa provides travel to over 100 cities in the U.S, Canada, Mexico, Cuba, and the Bahamas.  Mesa currently has over 1,400 pilots working for them.

    Where are Mesa Airlines Bases?

    • Houston, TX – IAH
    • Phoenix, AZ – PHX
    • Dallas-Fort Worth, TX – DFW
    • Louisville, KY – SDF
    • Dulles, VA – IAD
    • Cincinnati, OH – CVG
    Mesa airlines operated plane

    What airplanes are in the Mesa Fleet?

    • Embraer E175
    • Bombardier CRJ-900
    • Boeing 737-400F

    What are the Minimum Qualifications for Mesa Airlines pilots?

    For Mesa pilots, there are two sets of requirements or minimum qualifications. There are the regulatory requirements set by the FAA, TSA, DOT, and even FCC. Then there are the individual airline requirements for the job. 

    Regulatory Requirements:

    • Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) Certificate
    • Current First Class Medical Certificate
    • Radiotelephone Operator’s Permit
    • Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) Badge eligibility
    • Successful completion of pre-employment drug test
    • Successful completion of Pilot Records Improvement Act (PRIA) evaluation
    • 1500 hours fixed-wing flight time

    Mesa Pilot Job Requirements:

    • FAA commercial pilot’s license with multi-engine and instrument ratings
    • 50 hours of multi-engine fixed-wing flight time (may be reduced to 25)
    • 200 hours cross-country flight time
    • 250 hours fixed-wing PIC
    • 100 hours of cross-country as PIC
    • 100 hours of night flying
    • 75 hours of instrument time (actual or simulated – 50 hours must be in airplanes)
    • 25 hours of night PIC
    • Must be at least 21 years of age and finish ATP written before the start of New Hire Training
    • Total flight time minimums:
      • 1,500 hours
      • 1,250 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 30 aviation hours
      • 1,000 hours – with qualifying 2- or 4-year aviation university program with 60 aviation hours
      • 750 hours – military flight training graduates
    United Airlines jet

    Mesa Airlines Pilots Pay

    Just like other passenger airlines, Mesa Airlines pilot’s pay will vary based on the plane you fly and the number of hours you fly during each bidding period. They have a 76 hour monthly and reserve guarantee. Given the factors above, the salary below should only be considered an estimate of annual pay based on available sources.

    First Officer:

    • Year 1: $36,000
    • Year 5: $41,000
    • Year 12: $49,000


    • Year 1: $62,000
    • Year 5: $69,000
    • Year 12: $84,000

    Discover pilot pay for all the major and regional airlines in the USA on our pilot salary guide.

    How Do I Apply to be a Pilot at Mesa Airlines?

    If you meet all of the qualifications listed above you can visit the Mesa Airlines jobs website and find open jobs. 

    You will create an account and sign in there before applying. Then have a choice of whether you want to fly under United Airlines or American Airlines.  As you continue to fly, be sure to update your profile and resume regularly to improve your chances of being selected for an interview.

    The Future of Mesa Airlines

    Mesa Airlines recently announced the order of 100 all-electric airplanes from Heart Aerospace. Heart Aerospace is building the world’s first electric 19 seat airplane. Mesa has worked with United Airlines who is making similar investments in electric aircraft.

    Mesa was one of the largest users of 19-seat aircraft because they served many smaller cities but as the flights stopped making money they stopped service. The hope is that the lower operating costs of these electric planes will once again make such service a viable option bringing efficient transportation options to smaller cities around the country.

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