) to outperform from neutral.
Analyst James Higgins says on Monday the Air Transportation Stabilization Board came closer to approving a $900 million government loan guarantee for U.S. Airways. Higgins says the government must first obtain confirmation of U.S. Air's reorganization business plan from bankruptcy court and resolve any outstanding pension plan underfunding issues. Still, Higgins thinks U.S. Air will attain these final two hurdles relatively easily, thereby enabling the airline to emerge from Chapter 11 by the second quarter of 2003, and in turn, enable Mesa Air to realize incremental growth. He sees 80 cents fiscal 2003 (Sept.) earnings per share, and $1.23 for fiscal 2004. He has a $9 target on Mesa Air.