AUGUST 24, 2022
Airlines are struggling in this current economic climate. After gaining a monetary uptick in 2o21, carriers have struggled to keep up with the demand for excessive traveling. Countless flight delays and cancellations have occurred from the beginning of this year throughout the summer, frustrating customers and airline staff alike. One major airline, ExpressJet Airlines, is facing bankruptcy due to a combination of economic challenges.
ExpressJet Airlines, formerly known as Delta Connection and United Express, has halted its operations this past week. According to the company’s website, the carrier filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Monday in Delaware. The companies stated that various economic and marketing issues have led to the carrier’s closure. Unfortunately, economic dysfunctions have plagued many significant carriers worldwide, and ExpressJet may be the first of many airlines that decide to cease operations.
Though ExpressJet Airlines isn’t the most popular airline, it had more than 450 aircraft on its roster at its peak. The airline was the largest operator of the Embraer ERJ145 aircraft, a 50-seat regional jet with turbofan power and exceptional range. Though it operated this notable jet, the pandemic brought forth new issues for the carrier and its patrons. After United Airlines took over the company in 2018, it decided to end its usage of ExpressJet aircraft due to pandemic budget cuts. This set back the company tremendously, unable to have its jets leased out or utilized to keep up its revenue.
Though ExpressJet Airlines was seemingly down and out during the pandemic, the company decided to administer a rebrand as a last-ditch effort. The rebrand was called Aha! Airlines, which transformed the regional carrier into a low-budget jet-flying experience. The reinvigorated airline had been running out of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport for the past six months. The jets could fly to 11 different cities in the western United States, but this downsizing didn’t save the company from its inevitable decline. The rising costs due to inflation and gas hikes dampened ExpressJet’s overall revenue, leaving the company no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
Just a month ago, Aha! head honcho Tim Sieber expressed his excitement for the carrier’s growth. Sieber said in a press release that the airline was one of the “fastest-growing” regional airlines in the western United States. After exclaiming emphatically about the carrier’s expansion, it was a surprise that Aha! would stop operations so prematurely. The ExpressJet Airlines CEO, who owned Aha!, made the following statement acknowledging pandemic and inflation issues as the reason for the recent “termination of operations.”
It was recently revealed that July 2022 was a relatively successful financial month for Aha! and ExpressJet Airlines, which aligns with Sieber’s positive press release. In July, the carrier had a near-perfect flight record, with a 95.6% on-time arrival rate and no cancellations. Though this information is imperative for maintaining an airline, the company wasn’t making enough income to offset the rising fuel costs. Even with such a successful month this year, it couldn’t alleviate the financial burden of the current market, ultimately leading to the decision for a complete closure of the regional jet business.