United Express by ExpressJet stored Embraer ERJ145LR - Photo ; Andrew Henderson/Airways

MIAMI – ExpressJet (EV) plans to return to the market, as stated in a January announcement from the airline, and it wants to do it soon.

The carrier, based in Atlanta (ATL) at the moment with one single aircraft, a leased 50 seater Embraer ERJ145 registered as N12135 according to Planespotters, filed a request at the US Department of Transportation (DoT) on April 15 requesting rights to operate point-to-point services to cities that have none or little air connections.

The reason invoked is that many mid-sized cities have lost air services because of consolidation among bigger airlines or cuts in flight activity following the spread of Covid-19 epidemic. To overcome the limits imposed by its available fleet, XE has plans to add more aircraft to reach a total of ten over the next 12 months and start full operations as an independent airline.

The carrier indicated a traffic forecast of 400,000 passengers and an expenditure of approximately US$60m. It also plans to hire personnel, and has a 1,500 flights-per-year goal within one year from the start of operations. The airline has not given details on its route plan.

Delta Connection Mitsubishi CRJ900 N134EV – Photo : Otto Kirchof/Airways

ExpressJet History

According to EV’s website, the airline boasts a 33-year long history, a result of an amalgamation of Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) and Continental Express, former subsidiaries of Delta Air Lines (DL) and Continental Airlines (CO). The EV site also indicates that the carrier certificate qualifies the airline to fly the EMB 170/175/190,the CRJ 200/700/900 and the ERJ135.

Until late 2018, XE flew for DL but this contract was terminated when it became known that United Airlines (UA) would become a shareholder in XE capital. At the same time, American Airlines (AA) put an end to an agreement with the EV, the latter of which then ceased operating services for American Eagle (AA).

Then, in January 2019, ManaAir LLC acquired EV in partnership with UA as a minority shareholder, with a 51.1%-49.9% share distribution. In 2020, EV was handed over 36 ERJ145 aircraft from UA and became the largest type operator worldwide.

The Covid-19 crisis sets in, and UA terminates its contract with XE in July 2020, transferring all operations to CommutAir (C5) in effect from September 30. C5, an affiliate of United Express, becomes the sole operator of UA’s ERJ145 fleet.

ExpressJet operated its last flight on September 30, 2020 from Memphis (MEM) to Houston (IAH).

American eagle Mitsubishi CRJ701 N703SK – Photo : Michael Rodeback/Airways