An airline closure in sight? United drops ExpressJet contract

Austin Deppe

ExpressJet will start to downscale its operations as United Airlines drops its long-running contract with the regional firm leaving it on its own in the midst of a crisis.

United’s statement came on July 30, 2020, presenting the decision to consolidate all outsourced flights of Embraer ERJ-145s to CommutAir, another airline partially owned by United, thus ending the contract with ExpressJet.

Atlanta-based ExpressJet operates 95 ERJ-145s, most of them long-range models, for United Airlines under the brand United Express, and had plans to expand its fleet with another 36 of Embraer’s regional jets.

“We have been communicating for several months that we expect to be a smaller airline in response to the unprecedented impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on our business,” United’s statement explained the move. CommutAir, which United selected to fly its ERJ-145s, is much smaller company with just 37 aircraft in its fleet.

Since the news about United’s decision came, ExpressJet’s CEO Subodh Karnik expressed a decision to wind down the company’s operations, according to an internal memo obtained by Reuters. 

Meanwhile ExpressJet published a statement saying they will continue their operations at least through 2020. “We will now explore all options for the future of our company in 2021, while we expect to continue normal operations through the rest of the year.” – company claims.

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