Former regional giant, ExpressJet airline files for bankruptcy in the US

At its peak, the carrier flew 450 aircraft while providing services to United Airlines and Delta Air Lines, but since 2021 it has tried a new phase with the name Aha! airlines

Once giant, US regional airline ExpressJet ceased all flight operations and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday. The carrier had been flying since last year under the Aha! Airlines, with a tiny fleet of four Embraer ERJ 145 jets.

At its peak, ExpressJet operated 450 aircraft, serving the hubs of United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. In addition, the carrier became the largest operator in the world of the ERJ family, with almost 300 aircraft received in several years.

“We regret that a combination of market and economic conditions lead us to take this action,” said the ExpressJet statement, which added that the company is “unable to assist with alternative travel arrangements.”

ExpressJet was the world’s largest operator of Embraer’s ERJ jets (Andrew W. Sieber)

United Airlines ended partnership in 2020

ExpressJet’s situation got complicated in 2020, at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, when United Airlines decided to end the partnership agreement and transfer its ERJ 145s to CommutAir – Delta had already left to be its customer before.

With no fleet and flights, ExpressJet ended its operations in September 2020, but relaunched services in October last year, after obtaining a new Air Operator Certificate, already under the name Aha! Airlines.

United still held a significant stake in the parent airline, but sold its stake in June.

Aha! Airlines operated a small network from Reno-Tahoe International Airport in addition to providing charter services.

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