U.S. regional airline ExpressJet files for bankruptcy

ExpressJet Embraer 145LR ‘N11535’ flying for United Express © Alan Wilson from Stilton, Peterborough, Cambs, UK – CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67195851

On 23 August 2022, ExpressJet Airlines ceased operations without notice and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy with the intention to enter receivership in the coming weeks.

ExpressJet started operations in the mid-1980s as a subsidiary of Continental Airlines. This changed over time. Before the start of the pandemic, ExpressJet operated exclusively for United Express, which is the regional carrier of United Airlines. However, on 30 July 2020 United Airlines made the decision to sever ties with ExpressJet.

This left the regional carrier in a tough spot. At its peak, ExpressJet had over 450 planes, so it was a huge regional operator. Obviously, regional airlines are heavily dependent on major carriers to stay in business, and getting dumped by your only customer isn’t great.

ExpressJet, however, got creative and decided to launch a stand-alone airline. Concretely, aha! was a Reno-based airline that launched operations in late 2021, and the airline has flown 50-seat Embraer E145 jets on scheduled flights and charter operations to destinations across the west. “aha!” meant “air, hotel, adventure”.

This adventure came to an end today…

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