PHOENIX — With its $20-million-a-month Delta Air Lines contract in jeopardy, Mesa Air Group Inc. wants shareholders to allow the carrier to issue up to $37.8 million in common stock to pay off its looming debt.

The amount is more than the Phoenix-based commuter airline's total market value on Tuesday.

Mesa said in a securities filing that it will ask shareholders at the company's annual meeting May 13 to approve the plan to issue new stock so it can repay senior convertible notes in June.

Mesa offered the convertible notes in 2003 to raise $100.1 million. The notes aren't due until 2023, but holders can force the company to repurchase the notes on June 16, 2008.

In March, Delta Air Lines Inc. said it planned to pull a contract-flying agreement worth $20 million a month with another Mesa subsidiary, Freedom Airlines. Delta said Freedom's carriers had a poor flight completion rate, but Mesa disputes that claim.

Mesa this week sued Delta, seeking to keep the contract intact.