ExpressJet Files Bankruptcy, Shuts Down All Operations

ExpressJet Airlines has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and ceased all flight operations. Among other things they blame high fuel costs and the inability to sell hotel travel packages. However if your business model isn’t resilient to sub-$100 fuel you were doomed to fail.

Last year ExpressJet, 49% owned by United, shut down its Embraer ERJ-145 operation, kept one plane and their operating certificate, and since the fall flew as aha! to 11 cities from a hub in Reno. As I wrote at the time, “using high seat cost regional jets on leisure routes. What could possibly go wrong?”

A couple hundred million in CARES Act and subsequent payroll support grants well spent!

The airline once flew for United, American and Delta. It traces its roots to a group of commuter airlines acquired by Frank Lorenzo’s Texas Air in the late 1980s, and was spun off from Continental in 2002.

For about 5 months of 2010 they operated with their own hub in Branson, Missouri. Shortly thereafter they were acquired by SkyWest and merged with Atlantic Southeast.

Two and a half years ago ERJ-145 operator Trans States ceased operations citing difficulty attracting pilots. Around that time they became the largest operator of ERJ-145 regional jets in the world. Before the bankruptcy filing though they were down to just 5 Embraer ERJ-145 aircraft.

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