When United Airlines chose CommutAir as its sole Embraer E145 operator earlier this month it was clear that the future of ExpressJet, the other operator, was limited. Now it appears the operation will halt even sooner than previously anticipated. In a message to employees over the weekend CEO Subodh Karnik indicated that ExpressJet will halt its regional operations for United at the end of September rather than trying to slowly trim the schedule through the end of the year.
ExpressJet provided the following official statement:
On July 30, United Airlines selected CommutAir as its sole ERJ145 operator, and asked ExpressJet Airlines to wind-down flying as a United Express regional carrier. Due to the uncertainty of airline passenger travel as a result of the continuing pandemic, all ExpressJet flying for United Airlines will end on September 30, 2020. In addition, with the termination of the CARES Act payroll support funding at that time, ExpressJet also will terminate or furlough most of its workforce on September 30, 2020, other than limited staff needed in connection with the wind-down of operations and the review of future business opportunities.
As the scheduled operations dwindle staffing and reliability challenges increase. This leads to what Karnik described as risk to “materially hinder our ability to complete the flying efficiently and effectively.” With that in mind the company coordinated with United to wrap up its scheduled service on 30 September 2020.
The consensus was that given the continuing uncertainty in the COVID-19 impacted schedule beyond October, and the real possibility of a further reduction in flying, it would be extremely difficult to maintain any semblance of schedule integrity during this period.– ExpressJet CEO Subodh Karnik to employees
That date also correlates with the end of CARES Act Payroll Support Program funding for airlines. ExpressJet received $110 million in funds from that program, conditional on not implementing any involuntary cuts prior to the end of September. This schedule allows the company to wind down is operations in compliance with that requirement.
Per filings with the Department of Transportation ExpressJet employed approximately 2,500 people as of June 2020.
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