ExpressJet Airlines’ decision to file for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy and cease all flights will leave all 10 routes previously operated by regional subsidiary aha! unserved.
The company announced on Aug. 23 that it was planning a court-supervised liquidation, spelling an end for Reno, Nevada-based aha! and ExpressJet’s ad-hoc charter work.
CEO Subodh Karnik cited a series of reasons for the decision, including a lack of available aircraft and the inability to quickly establish passenger-servicing infrastructure in smaller airports. The carrier also blamed high fuel prices and lower revenues from an inability to implement hotel bundles, a foundation of aha!’s “air hotel adventure” business model.
During the week commencing Aug. 15—aha!’s last full week of operations—the airline operated 10 routes from Reno-Tahoe International (RNO), located three miles southeast of downtown Reno, in Washoe County, Nevada.
The carrier mainly targeted secondary and leisure destinations in the western US with low frequencies, flying to the likes of Eugene (EUG), Ontario (ONT), Palm Springs (PSP) and Spokane (GEG). More recently, on Aug. 11, the LCC added a route from Reno-Tahoe to Idaho Falls (IDA).
Aha! Network Map (w/c Aug. 15, 2022):
Data provided by OAG Schedules Analyser shows that aha! offered 48 flights and 2,400 weekly seats across its network. Six destinations received two flights per week from RNO, while four points received three. All routes will be left unserved by the airline’s exit from the market.
Aha! was the eighth largest carrier at Reno-Tahoe by capacity and the sixth largest by weekly frequencies. Southwest Airlines is the largest with a 42% seat capacity share, followed by American Airlines on 14.9% and United Airlines on 14.8% Aha! accounted for about 2.1% of capacity from RNO.
ExpressJet was founded in 1986 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Continental Airlines. It ceased flying in September 2020 after United opted to make Ohio-based CommutAir its sole ERJ-145 operator.
However, the carrier announced plans to make a comeback in April 2021, targeting cities that have few or no flights due to the pandemic. Aha! was launched in October 2021 and operated four leased 50-seat Embraer ERJ-145s.