The move left customers in the lurch. ExpressJet told customers who had flight bookings to contact their credit card company to request refunds, and said the airline “is unable to assist with alternate travel arrangements.” Those who cannot get refunds from their credit card companies can file a claim as creditors in the bankruptcy process.
“A combination of conditions led us to this decision,” said Subodh Karnik, Chairman and CEO of ExpressJet, in a written statement. “Despite the valiant efforts of our employees to overcome challenges, and despite great support by our cities and airports – especially Reno-Tahoe and the community there, we arrived at a point where termination of operations was in the best interest of our stakeholders.”
The company said growth was necessary for its business plan but was hampered by “lack of availability of aircraft and the inability to swiftly establish passenger servicing infrastructure in smaller airports.” It also said revenues were lower due to COVID-19 variants.
And although the aha! name was said to stand for “air hotel adventure,” the carrier was unable to roll out air-hotel packages that were foundational to its plans.
ExpressJet said it plans to start liquidating under court supervision in coming weeks.
Karnik was the majority investor in ManaAir LLC, which acquired ExpressJet from regional carrier SkyWest in 2019. Karnik’s KAir Enterprises LLC then became the majority owner of the aha! incarnation of ExpressJet.